Maritime piracy attacks hit all-time high of 266

PTI Dubai | Updated on March 12, 2018

Global attacks on ships rose to an all-time high of 266 during the first six months of 2011, up from 196 in 2010, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

More than 117 ships were attacked and 20 seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia alone since January 1, 2011, with 28 ships and 518 hostages held for ransom as of the end of April 2011.

These issues will be discussed by industry experts at the Middle East Money and Ships conference, scheduled to take place in Dubai on October 16, it has been announced.

The organisers of the Middle East Money and Ships conference, Seatrade, said the conference will review the current situation after global attacks touched an all-time high of 266 for the first half of 2011. The problem costs the industry up to $16 billion annually.

Industry professionals lined up to speak at the event include the Shipping Corporation of India Chairman & Managing Director, Mr Sabyasachi Hajara, and ABS Director Environmental Solutions, Mr Sean Bond.

According to a report last year by the Council on Foreign Relations, there is no quantitative research available on the total cost of global piracy.

Estimates vary widely because of a disagreement over whether insurance premiums, freight rates and the cost of re-routings should be included with, for instance, the cost of ransoms.

Some analysts suggest the cost is close to $1 billion a year, while others claim the losses could be as high as $16 billion, the Seatrade statement said.

“The difference of opinion arises because some experts prefer to add the actual cost of the ransoms to insurance premiums, freight rates and the cost of re-routing vessels, while others only account for operating expenses. However, all operators are looking for cost savings, especially during these trying economic times and any amount of billions is an added cost that ship owners and operators can do without,” Seatrade’s Mr Chris Hayman said.

According to the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre, in 2008, 47 of the 49 successful hijackings globally occurred off the coast of Somalia, although violent attacks against crew members were far more prevalent off the coast of Nigeria than anywhere else in the world.

In 2009, hijackings off Somalia increased to 49 despite fewer ships and an increased naval military presence, while incidents elsewhere in the world, including Indonesia, actually declined.

“This highlights that with the use of ‘mother ships’, pirates are now venturing out many hundreds of miles from the East African coastline. This makes it very difficult to predict where pirates might strike and therefore increasingly difficult for naval military to protect cargo vessels. So clearly, this is an issue that is not going to go away and needs to be addressed,” Mr Hayman said.

Published on October 12, 2011

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