The number of pirate attacks reported worldwide to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has continued to fall with 178 incidents in the first nine months, however, the anti-piracy watchdog warned on hijacking of small tankers in Southeast Asia.
The number incidents in the first nine months of 2014 was lower than the 188 reported in the same period in 2013, which was the lowest number of attacks since 2006. By contrast in the first nine months of 2011 there were 352 attacks.
In the first nine months of 2014 some 17 vessels were hijacked, 124 boarded, 10 fire upon, three seafarers, five kidnapped and 369 held hostage.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs encouraging to see the huge decrease in maritime piracy and armed robbery over the last few years, thanks mainly to international navies deterring pirates off East Africa, and improved onboard security,‚Äù said IMB director, Pottengal Mukundan. ‚ÄúHowever, there has been a worrying new rise in attacks against small coastal tankers in Southeast Asia. We advise small tankers in particular to remain vigilant in these waters and report all attacks and suspicious small craft to the IMB‚Äôs Piracy Reporting Centre.‚Äù
Of the six vessels hijacked worldwide in the third quarter of 2014, five were in Southeast Asia. The pirates target small tankers carrying products such as marine gas oil holding the crew hostage while the cargo is offloaded fro resale.
With the fall off in Somali pirate attacks to just 10 incidents so far this year IMB drew attention to those seafarers still held hostage.
‚ÄúSome of those crewmembers have been held captive there for more than four years now, with fading hopes of immediate release,‚Äù said Mukundan.