Somali Piracy Declines, Gulf of Guinea Attacks Increase
Six-month drop in world piracy says International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report
The number of pirate attacks has fallen sharply in the first half of 2012, led by a drop in Somali piracy, but the report warns that these numbers were offset by a worrying increase of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
Overall, 177 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first six months of 2012, compared to 266 incidents for the corresponding period in 2011.
The report showed that 20 vessels were hijacked worldwide, with a total number of 334 crew members taken hostage. There were a further 80 vessels boarded, 25 vessels fired upon and 52 reported attempted attacks. At least four crew members were killed.
The decrease in the overall number is primarily due to the decline in the incidents of Somali piracy activity, dropping from 163 in the first six months of 2011 to 69 in 2012. Somali pirates also hijacked fewer vessels, down from 21 to 13. Nonetheless, Somali piracy continues to remain a serious threat.
The decline in Somali piracy, however, has been offset by an increase of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, where 32 incidents, including five hijackings, were reported in 2012, versus 25 in 2011. In Nigeria alone there were 17 reports, compared to six in 2011. Togo reported five incidents including a hijacking, compared to no incidents during the same time last year.
The IMB report emphasized that high levels of violence were also being used against crew members in the Gulf of Guinea. Guns were reported in at least 20 of the 32 incidents. At least one crew member was killed and another later died as a result of an attack.