World pirate attacks drop in first half of 2010

Pirate attacks worldwide fell 18 per cent in the first half of 2010 from a year ago, as patrols by several navies in the Gulf of Aden curtailed raids, an international maritime watchdog said on Thursday.

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2010, 19:01 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Pirate attacks worldwide
fell 18 per cent in the first half of 2010 from a year ago, as
patrols by several navies in the Gulf of Aden curtailed raids,
an international maritime watchdog said on Thursday.

The decrease was a small sign of improvement after
years of steadily deteriorating safety at sea. Last year, sea
attacks worldwide surged by 39 per cent to 406 cases, the
highest in six years, with Somali pirates` raids on vessels
accounting for more than half of the incidents.
Somalia has been ravaged by violence and anarchy since
1991, fuelling a piracy boom that has made its coastal waters
among the world`s most dangerous. Particularly perilous is the
Gulf of Aden, which is connects the Red Sea to the Indian
Ocean and is the world`s busiest sea lane.

But the number of attacks worldwide fell to 196
between January and June this year, down from 240 incidents in
the same period a year ago, the International Maritime
Bureau`s piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur said in a
statement.

It said attacks dropped to 33 in the Gulf of Aden
from 86 a year ago. However, it said attacks in the Somali
basin that is, the country`s coastal waters, excluding the
Gulf of Aden and the wider Indian Ocean have risen to 51 from
44 a year ago as pirates shifted attention to other areas.

"The actions of the navies in the Gulf of Aden have
been instrumental in bringing down the attacks there. The
Indian Ocean poses a different challenge," warned the bureau`s
director, Capt.Pottengal Mukundan.
An international flotilla, including US and
European warships, has been deployed to the Gulf of Aden and
prevented many hijackings, most which were opportunistic in
nature with some pirates paid multi-million-dollar ransoms.

The bureau said that globally, 70 vessels were
boarded and 31 hijacked during the first half of the year,
with 597 crew taken hostage and one killed.

PTI