Shippers avoid new pirate hotspot

Abu Sayyaf Group a major threat in region.

Shippers avoid new ‘pirate hotspot’ in waters west of the Philippines

By Keith Wallis

A surge in piracy to the west of the Philippines is forcing shipowners to divert vessels through other waters, stoking their costs and extending the time it takes to transport goods such as Australian iron ore to key Asian destinations.

There have been 16 attacks since last March on ships in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, through which about $40 billion worth of cargo passes each year, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

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