Despite the best efforts from authorities, piracy remains a serious issue worldwide. In 2015, we witnessed the drop in cases in the so-called “key piracy areas” but the overall outlook for armed robbery remains worrying.
Overall Levels of Hijacking/Piracy in 2014 and 2015 are Similar
According to International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the overall levels of armed robbery and piracy are similar to the number of cases in 2014. Vessel ship hijacking and capture is slightly less in the year 2015. International Maritime Bureau (IMB)’s Piracy Reporting Centre reported 246 incidents in 2015, as compared to 245 in 2014. Death count due to pirate attacks is one and the injury count reports at least 14. One worrying data is that there were 19 persons kidnapped and held for ransom. That is a steep increase from 9 persons in 2014. This is mainly due to the five attack cases off Nigeria.
The no. of crew taken hostage dropped from 442 (2014) to 271 (2015) Tweet this!
The number of ships boarded rose about 11% to 203 and 27 attacks were thwarted. Where 21 vessels were hijacked in 2014, the number in 2015 was 15 vessels. This is a positive sign of certain precautionary measures taken by the related authorities. Another key thing to note is there was zero officially reported hijacking cases in the last Quarter (October, November, December) of 2015.
Main reduction trend worth noting
This global reduction is contributed by the reduction in attacks against small fuel tankers around South East Asia’s coasts. IMB has reasons to believe this is a sustainable trend due to the measures taken by Indonesian & Malaysian authorities. The successful actions by Indonesia and Malaysia in the arrest and prosecution of two gangs who hijacked tankers in the region will act as a great reminder to pirates that authorities do not tolerate such incidents in their watch. Besides, the subsequent investigation and arrest of the alleged masterminds behind the scenes would help, as well.
Only 14 incidents (9 vessels) were reported boarded. With the history of being a region for violent armed robbery and piracy, IMB has reasons to believe that many of cases in Nigeria are not officially recorded. In this pursuit, the authorities will continue to monitor the area closely.
Reduction in Gun Attacks in 2015: 33 reports compared to 62 (2014) Tweet this!
South East Asia is still the region where most of these incidents happen. Almost 55% of the region’s attacks were against vessels underway compared to 37% in 2015, as noted in ICC. Most are low-level theft. However, it is important that things are trending in the right direction with subsequent efforts putting into fighting world piracy. IMB PRC is continuing to work closely with the Indonesian authorities and Marine Police to monitor high-risk areas.
In 2015, there was no officially reported Somali based attacks. IMB has warned vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean to stay particularly vigilant as this is the defined ‘HIGH RISK AREA‘. Many other precautions were taken and it is obvious that IMB views this state as a very important step towards fighting global piracy. “Any misstep would undo all that has been done and rekindle this criminal activity,” said Mr. Mukundan, Director of the International Maritime Bureau.
China witnessed three thefts of bunker diesel oil from large bulk carriers off Tianjin and Bangladesh’s low-level incidents dropped to 11 in the year of 2015.
Vietnam’s rise in theft cases is not particularly alarming. The incident count increased to 27 in 2015, from 7 the previous year. These are mainly low level theft against vessels anchored in Vietnam, mainly port of Vung Tau. This is a solvable issue as the port authorities tighten up security and work on several precautionary measures to ensure safety of the vessels anchored. Much has been done to tackle this issue since.
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