Maritime Watchdog Says Piracy Hits Record Levels

Posted October 18th, 2011 at 5:05 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A maritime watchdog says piracy worldwide has hit record levels so far this year, with Somali pirates accounting for more than half of the 352 reported attacks.

But the International Maritime Bureau said in a report Tuesday that Somali pirates have been successful in hijacking fewer ships, despite a 57 percent jump in the number of their attacks over the same period last year.

The head of the London-based organization, Pottengal Mukundan, said the lower success rate is due to better policing and onboard security measures, as well as the intervention of international naval forces. He says the Somali pirates are finding it more difficult to seize ships and get the ransom they demand.

Tuesday's report also says piracy is surging off the coast of the West African nation of Benin, where 19 attacks have been reported in the first nine months of this year.

But piracy and armed robberies in Asian waters, including the Indian subcontinent, are down from the same period last year.

Somali pirates continue to terrorize shipping in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Seas despite international naval patrols. The pirates have hijacked dozens of ships and made hundreds of millions of dollars from ransom payments in the past few years.