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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pirate attacks increase...

Reported as Big rise in pirate attacks on shipping:
GLOBAL pirate attacks rose by 10 per cent in 2007, after a big increase in the number of ships being targeted off Nigeria and Somalia.
There were 269 acts of piracy, up from 239 in 2006 and reversing a downtrend seen since 2003, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

It also revealed yesterday that pirates were becoming more violent – and are now more likely to use guns.

Last year, 18 vessels were hijacked, while 292 crew members were taken hostage, five were killed and three are still missing.

Guns were used in 72 attacks, up 35 per cent from 2006, and 64 crew members were assaulted and injured, compared with only 17 in 2006.

The majority of such incidents occurred off Somalia's coast, the IMB said. Pirates used rocket propelled grenade launchers and automatic weapons as well as mother vessels to launch smaller craft to attack ships further away from the shore.

Of the 269 cases last year, 31 were in Somalia, up from ten in 2006, and 42 in Nigeria, compared with 12 the previous year.

Pottengal Mukundan, the IMB director, said: "The significant increase in the (2007] numbers can be directly attributed to the increase in the incidents in Nigeria and Somalia."
Remember that the IMB counts all sorts of things as "piracy" including snatch-and-grab boardings of ship at anchor where crook shinny aboard and grab some line or paint cans and disappear back over the side.

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