Somalia’s anti-piracy strategy contributes to reduction in global incidents

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Sea piracy is at its lowest level in six years, says watchdog.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) says that piracy is at its lowest level in years after recording a 40% drop in incidents of piracy since 2011.

Globally there were 264 attacks recorded in 2013, with just 15 off the coast of Somalia, down from 75 in 2012, and 237 in 2011.

In a statement, IMB’s director Pottengal Mukundan said: “”The single biggest reason for the drop in worldwide piracy is the decrease in Somali piracy off the coast of East Africa. It is imperative to continue combined international efforts to tackle Somali piracy. Any complacency at this stage could re-kindle pirate activity.”

The IMB says Somali pirates have been deterred by a combination of factors, including the role of international navies, the hardening of vessels, the use of private armed security teams, and what it describes as “the stabilizing influence of Somalia’s central government”.

IMB’s annual report on global piracy said more than 300 people were taken hostage at sea in 2013 and 21 were injured, nearly all with guns or knives. A total of 12 vessels were hijacked, 202 were boarded, 22 were fired upon and a further 28 reported attempted attacks. Nigerian pirates were particularly violent, killing one crewmember, and kidnapping 36 people to hold onshore for ransom.

Piracy off West Africa made up 19% of attacks worldwide last year, the report said.

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