By Benard Sanga
Somalia: A Danish flagged vessel was attacked by¬†pirates¬†on Saturday off Somalia‚Äôs coast.
This is the latest in a series of increased pirating activities in the region.
The vessel, MV Torm Kansas, laden with 35,000 tonnes of oil products was attacked by¬†pirates¬†while enroute from Sikka, India to Mossel Bay in South Africa.
The attack comes barely five days after two other vessels came under attack from¬†pirates¬†in the Indian ocean, according to a statement from counter-piracy NATO forces, sent to newsrooms Tuesday.
Figures from the International Maritime Bureau indicate that as of October 22, this year, there have been eleven reported incidents of piracy off Somalia this year, including two hijackings.
Shipping stakeholders in the country say this indicates the piracy menace along the Gulf of Aden was far from being eliminated and shipping lines may not remove the levies introduced in 2009 because of piracy.
‚ÄúThe problem is that the threat is still there and shipping lines do not want to take a chance. They are still levying surcharges on freight rates to cater for security,‚Äù said Kenya Ships Agents Association Chief Executive, Mr Juma Tellah.
In May 2008, the Gulf of Aden was classified as a war risk area by Lloyds Market Association Joint War Committee, a move that led shipping lines to introduce risk premiums.
The premiums have since increased 300 fold from $500 (Sh43, 500) per ship, per voyage; to up to $150,000 (Sh13,050,000) per ship, per voyage, in 2010.
The shipping lines also charge kidnap and ransom fees that cover the crew against ransom demands, but not the vessel or cargo. An insurance premium that covers goods transported along the Somali coast is also levied by the liners.
‚ÄúVigilance cannot be abandoned just because piracy seems to have fallen. The¬†pirates¬†can adapt and change their modus operandi,‚Äù said the Seafarers Union of Kenya Secretary General, Mr Andrew Mwangura.