Piracy: Attacks Getting Bigger, Bolder
According to data released July 14, 2011, by the International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks off Somalia and in the GoA/Indian Ocean region climbed dramatically in the first six months of this year. Figures reveal that there were 266 attacks on vessels in this period compared with 196 attacks in 2010.
“In the last six months, Somali pirates attacked more vessels than ever before and they’re taking higher risks,” IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said. They fired on ships for the first time during the monsoon season last month, he said. Pirates hijacked one in eight vessels attacked in the first half of the year, compared with one in four a year earlier, the report showed. The most recent successful hijacking took place on April 30th, with 44 further attempted attacks since then, the IMB said. Somali pirates took 361 sailors hostage and kidnapped 13 in the first half of 2011. The number of violent and organized attacks off West Africa also increased, the IMB said. According to the report, monsoon weather in the Indian Ocean region that began in early June displaced pirates to the Gulf of Aden and the southern Red Sea. It called the 18 attacks reported in the Red Sea area since May 20th, “a cause for concern.” Three attacks in the Indian Ocean in adverse weather showed threats remained during monsoons for the first time, the IMB said, citing winds of 34 miles an hour and swells of 4.5 meters (15 feet). “It may be that these recent Indian Ocean incidents are a sign of desperation on behalf of pirates, or that there are many more pirate action groups operating now than there were in 2010, particularly outside the Gulf of Aden,” the IMB said. The IMB cited robust ship hardening and security measures as well as the presence of EU NAVFOR as mitigating factors in the wake of recent, unsuccessful attacks on merchant vessels. Despite the increasingly desperate tactics used by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Red Sea areas, Neptune Maritime Security has an incident-free transit record, and offers both unarmed and armed security solutions for all types of vessel. Neptune Maritime Security is happy to work closely not only with its clients but also with other government agencies to ensure the safe passage of vessels.