The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Live Piracy & Armed Robbery Report 2013 has reported at least 10 maritime piracy incidents in the first two weeks of October, all of them commercial vessels, and most of them at anchor off Indonesia.
The IMB urged masters to always report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery (actual, attempted or suspicious) occurring anywhere in the world to the 24-hour manned IMB Piracy Reporting Center, +60 3 2031 0014.
Despite the concentration of incidents recently, the IMB reported that piracy worldwide is at its lowest third-quarter level since 2006.
The latest IMB Piracy Report shows 188 piracy incidents in the first nine months of 2013, down from 233 for the same period last year. Hostage-taking has also fallen markedly, with 266 people taken hostage this year, compared with 458 in the first three quarters of 2012.
In the first nine months of 2013, IMB’s global figures show pirates hijacked 10 vessels, fired at 17, and boarded 140. A further 21 attacks were thwarted. In total 266 crew were taken hostage and 34 kidnapped. One seafarer was killed, 20 were injured, and one is reported missing.
“Although the number of attacks is down overall, the threat of attacks remains, particularly in the waters off Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea” off the west coast of Africa, IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan said. “It is vital that ship masters continue to be vigilant as they transit these waters.”
Attacks in seas around Somalia continued to fall dramatically, with just 10 incidents attributed to Somali pirates this year, down from 70 in the same nine months of 2012. IMB attributes this improvement to the actions of naval forces engaged in anti-piracy operations, security teams on board vessels, ships complying with the industry’s best management practices, and the stabilizing influence of the Central Government of Somalia.
“The vital role of the navies off the coast of Somalia should not be underestimated,” Capt. Mukundan said. “Their presence ensures that pirates do not operate with the impunity they did before.”
In Indonesia, the IMB recorded 68 low-level attacks to vessels, nearly all at anchor. Robbers boarding the vessels were usually armed with knives or machetes.