Pirate attacks worldwide have registered a 15% increase in the first six months of 2015 compared to the corresponding period in 2014, says a new report from the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
134 instances of piracy, 106 boarding and 13 hijackings have been recorded so far this year. The report highlights Southeast Asia as an area where pirate attacks keep increasing, with one attack happening on average every two weeks, particularly targeting small tankers that are more difficult to trace on the black market.
Indonesia’s waters, particularly the area close to Singapore, were the most targeted, with more than a third of incidents taking place there, although the majority of these related to low-level, opportunistic thefts from vessels. Similar attacks were on the rise along the coast of Bangladesh too, with 10 reports made in the second quarter of 2015 compared with only one in the first quarter.
An opposite trend was recorded in Nigeria, where 11 incidents were reported in the first half of 2015, but no incidents were reported in the month of June. However, the area is still dangerous, as 10 crew kidnappings in three separate events were reported in and around Nigerian waters.
The situation in East Africa and around Somalia in particular remains calm, as no reports were received in the second quarter of 2015. The IMB believes nonetheless that the security situation in the Horn of Africa remains uncertain, and advises ship masters to remain vigilant when transiting these waters and to adhere to the industry’s best management practices.
The IMB emphasises the importance of incident reporting and knowledge sharing to monitor and tackle piracy. “Information sharing and co-ordinated action between concerned coastal states is crucial in responding to this threat. We commend the effort that caught one gang and also the hefty custodial sentences imposed on another, which will help deter further incidents,” says Pottengal Mukundan, IMB director.