Pity the Somali pirates, who after an abysmal year in 2012, have only managed to (unsuccessfully) attack two vessels thus far in 2013. Piracy is now much more lucrative in West Africa, where there have been at least 10 reported attacks in the past month alone. In the waters of Nigeria, a dozen mariners from three separate vessels were kidnapped by pirates during a single 10-day period. Côte d’Ivoire had never witnessed the hijacking and large-scale robbery of an oil tanker before October 2012, but already has had two such vessels pilfered from its waters this year. Read More
After a six-year low, Somalia-based piracy is likely to grow if international military budget reductions force a reduction in ships patrolling in and around the Gulf of Aden, an international piracy expert told USNI News in a Monday briefing. Read More
That unsurprising conclusion can be inferred from the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy report for 2011. IMB noted that incidents off Somalia increased in 2011, but the number of successful hijackings decreased from 49 to 28. Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB’s Piracy Reporting Center, credited “pre-emptive naval strikes, the hardening of vessels in line with the best management practices and the deterrent effect of privately contracted armed security personnel” with the drop in successful hijackings.
Vigorous action by international naval forces in the Gulf of Aden and northwest Indian Ocean, weather, and shipboard defensive measures likewise helped reduce attacks year-over-year during the first quarter of 2012. Increasingly, those defensive measures have included armed security teams embarked on merchant vessels; anywhere from 15 to 35 percent of the ships transiting the region now rely on them. And according to industry sources, no ship embarking armed guards has been hijacked to date.