15 July 2013 14:05 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Global incidents of piracy in the first six months of 2013 are 22% lower than in the same period last year, with actual hijackings down by more than half, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Monday.
The IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded 138 worldwide piracy incidents during the first six months of 2013, compared with 177 incidents for the same period in 2012.
In terms of hijackings, seven have been reported so far this year, compared with 20 in the first half of 2012.
The number of sailors taken hostage has also decreased significantly, with 127 taken hostage in the first half of 2013 compared with 334 during the first half of 2012.
Occurrences of Somali piracy in particular have fallen, with only eight incidents, including two hijackings, recorded in the first half of 2013.
The IMB said this decrease is a result of actions taken by international navies and preventative measures employed by merchant vessels.
"The navies continue to play a vital role in ensuring this threat is kept under control. The two vessels hijacked were recovered by naval action before the pirates could take them to Somalia," said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan.
"Only the navies can take such remedial action after a hijack. Denying the pirates any success is essential to a sustained solution to this crime."
Despite decreased pirate activity in some regions, piracy, kidnappings and armed robbery have increased in the Gulf of Guinea,
In fact, IMB said kidnappings at sea in this region have dramatically increased, with a wider range of vessels targeted.
“There has been a worrying trend in the kidnapping of crew from vessels well outside the territorial limits of coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea,” said Mukundan.
“In April 2013, nine crew members were kidnapped from two container vessels, one of which was 170 nautical miles from the coast. Pirates have used motherships, some of which were smaller off-shore supply vessels hijacked by pirates to conduct the attacks.
"There continues to be a significant under-reporting of attacks – a phenomenon highlighted by the IMB year on year. This prevents meaningful response by the authorities and endangers other vessels sailing into the area unaware of the precise nature of the threat," he added.
($1 = €0.77)
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