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Escalation in pirate attacks

Escalation in pirate attacks
A group representing half the world?s merchant-ship operators backed a plan to exclude vessels from a 600-mile-wide area off Somalia?s coast because of an escalation in attacks by pirates.

A group representing half the world"s merchant-ship operators backed a plan to exclude vessels from a 600-mile-wide area off Somalia"s coast because of an escalation in attacks by pirates.

A group representing half the world"s merchant-ship operators backed a plan to exclude vessels from a 600-mile-wide area off Somalia"s coast because of an escalation in attacks by pirates. Ships shouldn"t sail within the zone extending from the east coast of Somalia down to the Seychelles, Peter Hinchcliffe, London-based marine director at the International Chamber of Shipping, said by phone today. He confirmed the contents of a circular sent to the group"s members yesterday.

?The sensible thing to do is go further off the coast and travel faster,? Nick Day, chief executive officer of Washington-based Diligience Inc., a security and intelligence group, said by phone.

Almost all of this year"s hijackings around the Horn of Africa have been carried out on ships off Somalia"s east coast or outside naval convoys in the Gulf of Aden above it, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Just ?two or three? out of the 19 were ships within convoys, Cyrus Mody, a manager at the IMB in London said by phone.

The 600-mile safety zone was first recommended by the Maritime Security Centre, Horn of Africa, a European Union-run organization coordinating the protection of shipping in the region, Hinchcliffe said. It doesn"t apply to carriers sailing to the north of Somalia in convoys, he said.

Somali pirates have carried out 80 attacks this year, compared with 111 in 2008, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Between 22,000 and 24,000 ships sail through the Gulf of Aden each year, most of them also navigating Egypt"s Suez Canal to the north to travel between Europe and Asia.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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