Philippine maritime piracy up by a fourth, Coast Guard says

PIRACY and armed robberies against ships and their crew in Philippine waters have risen by more than a fourth in 2013, data from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

Though relatively low, the incidents of maritime piracy has increased by 27% to 14 from 11 the previous year. Four incidents have been reported this year with one person killed, the PCG said.

“In the Philippines, there are no significant attacks against large vessels, except for petty thieves on board foreign vessels at the anchorage areas perpetrated by plain thieves although vessels under three gross tons, particularly those engaged in fishing and interisland trade in Southern Philippines, have been the perennial victims of extortion and piracy,” the PCG said, in a letter replying to a query from BusinessWorld.

Of the 67 cases of maritime piracy recorded across the country from 2009 to 2014, 13 persons died, 57 sea vessels were robbed, and 10 were seajacked.

Of the 14 vessels victimized by pirates in 2013, foreign vessels were the highest at six, followed by vessels weighing less than three gross tons which numbered four.

“The incidents are simple hit-and-run robberies wherein the attack on a ship by criminal maritime muggers normally armed with knives is mounted close to land by small craft,” the PCG said.

In 2013, five sea piracy incidents were reported at the Manila South Harbor while there was one in the Manila North Harbor.

Piracy incidents worldwide rose by 86.2% from 2006 to 2010, with the number of successful and attempted attacks moving up from 239 in 2006 to 445 in 2010, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said in its Maritime Piracy Report published on its Web site in August.

It added that between 2005 and 2012, 61 seafarers were killed as result of piracy incidents, with 5,420 held hostage on some 279 ships seajacked worldwide.


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