Sea piracy attacks worldwide drop to five-year low in 2012
Kuala Lumpur - Sea piracy in 2012 dropped to a five-year low of 297 attacks due to strong presence of multi-national navy patrols in areas, an international watch group said Wednesday.
The Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said the number of pirate attacks in 2012 was far below the 439 recorded in 2011.
It said pirates boarded 174 ships in 2012, while 28 ships were hijacked and 28 were fired upon. It also recorded 67 attempted attacks.
"The number of people taken hostage on board fell to 585 from 802 in 2011, while a further 26 were kidnapped for ransom in Nigeria," it said. "Six crew members were killed and 32 were injured or assaulted." The organisation noted a sharp decline of pirate attacks in the seas off Somalia, with 75 reported incidents in 2012 compared to 237 the previous year.
"The continued presence of the navies is vital to ensuring that Somali piracy remains low," IMB director Pottengal Mukundan, said. "This progress could easily be reversed if naval vessels were withdrawn from the area." Mukundan warned that the capability of Somali pirates to launch attacks remains strong, and he called for continued vigilance in the Gulf of Aden.//DPA