ICC REPORTS 271 PIRATE ATTACKS AGAINST SHIPS
The number of pirate attacks against ships increased by 7 percent to 271 incidents in the first nine months of this year, according to the latest piracy report of the International Chamber of Commerce.
The report, released on Thursday, recorded “a significant increase” in the number of piracy attacks on the world’s oceans, rising from 253 incidents in the nine months of 2001, the ICC said.
Indonesia continues to record the highest number of attacks with 72 reported incidents, according to the report. Piracy attacks in Bangladesh are ranked second highest with 26. The report indicates that Bangladesh has seen “an alarming increase of pirate attacks” in the past three months.
The areas that are prone to piracy are Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Africa, the Red Sea, South and Central America, and the Caribbean, according to the ICC.
Incidents of hijackings increased to 20, from 15 in the first nine months of last year. The number of crew killed during pirate attacks fell to six from nine in 2001. The figures also show an increased use of weapons during attacks. The number of attacks using knives rose from 81 to 99.
“The incidents of hijackings have increased dramatically since 2000,” said Captain Mukundun, director of the ICC’s international maritime bureau. “These are serious and violent attacks, committed by organized crime groups. Crew members are often abducted or injured and both ship and cargo worth millions of dollars are often stolen.”
The ICC’s international maritime bureau called on the governments in Southeast Asia to ratify the SUA Convention (Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation Convention) of 1988. The convention will give them jurisdiction over these crimes when the vessels are recovered.
The ICC piracy report comes only two weeks after the bombing of the “Limberg,” a French tanker, in Yemen.
“This raises the spectre of maritime terrorism against these extremely vulnerable vessels,” Mukundan said. The ICC’s maritime bureau said that it recommends that governments and port authorities consider prescribed traffic lanes for these vessels, where practicable, patrolled by coast guard vessels and kept free of all unauthorized craft.
The ICC piracy report also draws attention to new initiatives designed to combat piracy. It highlights a unique preventive system called “Secure-Ship” — a 9,000-volt, non-lethal, electrifying fence surrounding the ship, specially adapted for maritime use. The fence uses a 9,000-volt pulse to deter boarding attempts. If the fence is tampered with, an alarm is triggered, activating floodlights and a siren, the ICC said.