16 January 2013 13:13 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Worldwide pirate attacks hit a five-year low in 2012, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) revealed in its global piracy report on Wednesday.
Some 297 ships were attacked in 2012, compared with 439 in 2011.
“Worldwide figures were brought down by a huge reduction in Somali piracy,” the report said.
The IMB attributed the 32% year on year decline in global pirate activity in 2012 to the presence of naval forces off Africa’s east coast, which are helping to “deter piracy”.
Of the 297 reported pirate attacks in 2012, bulk carriers witnessed the greatest number of attacks, with 66 incidents.
This was followed by chemical tankers, with 54 attacks and container ships, which saw 39, the report said.
Private armed security teams and crew application of “best management practices” are the other factors the IMB believe have played a significant factor in halving Somali hijackings in 2012.
The number of Somali hijackings reported in 2012 was 14, compared to 28 in 2011.
“In Somalia and the Gulf of Aden there were 75 reported attacks in 2012, compared with 237 in 2011. This accounted for 25% of incidents worldwide,” the IMB added.
The report warns, however, that “the threat and capability of heavily armed Somali pirates remains strong.”
“The continued presence of the navies is vital to ensuring that Somali piracy remains low,” said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan.
“This progress could easily be reversed if naval vessels were withdrawn from the area,” he added.
East and west Africa remain the worst-hit areas, with 150 attacks in 2012.
The IMB reported that piracy off the west coast of Africa is continuing to rise – particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, which saw 28 incidents recorded in 2012.
“Pirates in this area are particularly violent, with guns reported in at least 37 of the attacks,” the IMB warned.
Regions which experienced the highest number of actual and attempted reported pirate attacks throughout 2012 were Indonesia, with 81, Somalia with 49 and Nigeria with 27.
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