July 24, 2003
Piracy surges says IMB
Piracy against the world's shipping surged in the first half of this year, with a record 234 attacks reported and violence against seafarers escalating, the ICC International Maritime Bureau said today. Again, waters off Indonesia were the most dangerous.
The IMB Report, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, showed a rising toll of dead and injured seafarers as the number of incidents in which firearms were used rose.
A total of 16 seafarers were killed in piratical attacks during the period, 20 were reported missing, and 52 were injured. Numbers taken hostage more than doubled to 193.
IMB Director Captain Pottengal Mukundan said: "Levels of violence have increased significantly." He instanced as typical incidents the fatal shooting in the head of a ship's officer on board a tanker off Santos, and the abduction of crew for ransom off Nigeria where their vessel was run aground.
Pirates fired a hail of bullets from automatic weapons at a chemical tanker off Indonesia in an attempt to force it to stop. A ship's engineer was hit and was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment.
The figures were the worst for a six months period since the IMB, a specialized division of the International Chamber of Commerce, started compiling global piracy statistics in 1991.
The number of attacks rose by 37% compared with 171 during the corresponding period in 2002, when six crew members were killed.
IMB officials said the final outcome was likely to be even higher because of a time lag in reporting incidents.
The highest number of attacks was recorded off Indonesia, which accounted for more than one quarter of the world total with 64 incidents.
These included 43 ships boarded, four hijacked and attempted attacks on a further 17 ships.
The IMB said there are no signs of a reduction in attacks, and no improvement could be expected until Indonesia took serious steps to tackle piracy in its waters.
Among other piracy-prone areas, attacks doubled off Bangladesh where the number of attacks doubled to 23.
Nigeria and India, with 18 attacks each, occupy third place in the table.
Captain Mukundan said the information the IMB was able to provide law enforcement agencies was now more accurate and up-to-date than ever before.
"Law enforcement agencies can thus increase their presence in high risk area to prevent the loss of life and injury to seamen that we have seen in the first six months of this year," added Captain Mukundan.
The report identifies 26 ports and anchorages that are the most prone to attacks. Chittagong, Lagos, Cochin, Chennai, Dakar and Rio Haina headed the list.
The report highlights the following piracy prone areas:
S E Asia and the Indian Sub Continent
(click here to see Piracy Map)
Bangladesh - Chittagong and Mongla at berth and anchorage.
India - Chennai, Cochin
Indonesia - Adang Bay, Balikpapan, Dumai, Gaspar (Gelasa) Straits, Kuala Langsa, Lawi Lawi, Pulau Laut, Samarinda, Tanjong Priok (Jakarta). Areas around Anambas and Bintan Islands - increasing number of serious and brutal incidents have been reported within 30 km radius of Lat 01 N - Long 105 E in June 2003.
Malaysia - Pulau Pangkor
Philippines - Manila, Zamboanga
Vietnam - Haipong, Vung Tau
Africa and Red Sea
(click here to see Piracy Map)
Africa: Abidjan, Bonny River, Dakar, Dar Es Salaam, Lagos, Luanda, Nana Creek, Tema, Warri.
Gulf of Aden
Somali waters - Eastern and Northeastern coasts are high-risk areas for hijackings.
South and Central America and the Caribbean waters
(click here to see piracy map)
Colombia - Barranquilia, Buena Ventura, Cartagena
Cuba - Havana
Dominican Republic - Rio Haina
Ecuador - Guayaquil
Guyana - Georgetown
Jamaica - Kingston
Peru - Callao
The Report also draws attention to IMB's recent initiative to take the fight against piracy onto the Internet with weekly updates of attacks and warnings. The service, which has been well received in the shipping world, is compiled from daily status bulletins to ships at sea broadcast via satellite from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur. Posting the information on the Internet means shipowners and land-based authorities are able to access the updates. The address for the weekly report is www.icc-ccs.org
The work of the IMB Piracy Reporting Center is funded by 21 organizations, mostly P&I Clubs, shipowners and insurers. The center is now recognized throughout the maritime industry for its valuable contribution in quantifying the problem of world piracy and providing assistance, free of charge to ships that have been attacked. The attacks reported by the IMB account for 95% of the attacks officially released by the International Maritime Organization.
The IMB's Annual Report on piracy seeks not only to list the facts, but also to analyze developments in piracy and to identify piracy-prone areas so that the crew can take preventive action. Copies of the report, priced UK£18 inclusive of postage and further information can be obtained from:
ICC- International Maritime Bureau
1 Linton Road, Barking
Essex IG11 8HG, United Kingdom
Tel. ++ 44 20 8591 3000, Fax. ++ 44 20 8594 2833, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org