Good Company

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bangladeshi officials unhappy with elevation to piracy "hot spot"

As set out briefly here, there is some controversy between the IMB method of piracy reporting and some of the countries reported on - in this instance Bangladesh. The issue is that theIMB reports as "piracy" every instance of reported low level robbery in a location. So, if some enterprising sneak thief manages to clamber up the anchor chain of a ship and steal some paint (or even attempt to steal something unsuccesfully), it's reported by the IMB as an act of piracy. Some place view this as over reaction and believe it overstates the amount of piracy. So you end up with controversy:
The Piracy Reporting Centre of the International Maritime Bureau has defended its categorisation of Chittagong in Bangladesh as a “key hot spot” for piracy attacks. “Our data is based on reports from ship captains,” the Centre’s chief Noel Choong told Fairplay. The Bangladesh authorities were alerted twice by the Centre about the rising incidence of attacks in and around the port of Chittagong. Bangladesh Navy and Coast Guard had in fact conducted joint operations in the Bay of Bengal and killed two pirates. “Our concern is that increasingly cargo ships are being attacked or boarded. Crew safety is endangered,” Choong said rebutting criticism from Chittagong port authorities that the report was exaggerated and only insignificant items were stolen.
A major part of the problem is that, while most petty crimes are not worthy of international attention, allegations of piracy and the IMB reports are very much international in scope and draw a lot of attention even to minor criminal attempts. The consequences may include increased insurance rates for ships entering the waters where these activities are taking place.

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