Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Somali Pirates: 15-Month High in Pirating?

Reported as Somali Pirate Hijackings Increase to 15-Month High, AKE Says at Bloomberg:
NATO's Map of pirate attacks last 30 days
Somali pirates hijacked 10 ships in March, the most since December 2010, and may attack larger merchant vessels this month, AKE Intelligence said.
Somali pirate attacks rose to a record 237 in 2011, with ransoms worth $160 million paid to release 31 hijacked vessels, a One Earth Future Foundation report released Feb. 8 showed. Pirates based in Somalia cost governments and the shipping industry as much as $6.9 billion last year, One Earth estimates.
On the other hand, Reuters reports:
IMB 2012 to date
"PIRACY counter-measures have returned the rate of successful hijackings to pre-2007 levels, a NATO naval officer has told reporters.

Just six ships have been pirated for ransom in the past eight months, from “36 in the preceding eight", Lieutenant Commander Mehmet Elyurek said yesterday aboard the missile frigate Giresun, the Turkish flagship of the force NATO operates off the Horn of Africa, Reuters reported.

The rate of successful hijackings had "almost returned to pre-crisis (2007) levels", added Elyurek, who noted that more merchant ships have turned to armed security guards, razor wire and pirate-pummelling water pumps.
They both could be right, though the NATO map of hijackings over the last 3 months only shows 3 hijacked ships, so there is some issue about what counts as a "hijacked ship" and whether NATO is only counting, as indicated in the section I highlighted above, those "pirated for ransom."

Here's what to take from all this - the pirates are still out there and they continue to find ways to expand their search patterns for unprotected ships to hijack.

In looking at the maps, be aware that the NATO red markers are "pirated" vessels and the IMB red markers are "actual attacks."

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