The number of hostages taken and ransoms demanded have increased
Piracy attacks are on the rise again and have increased with each successive quarter this year, in large part due to a spike in attacks in Somalia, according to a report released today by the International Chamber of Commerce"s International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
A total of 199 incidents were reported to the IMB"s Piracy Reporting Centre for the first nine months of this year, with 83 in the third quarter, compared to 63 in the second quarter and 53 in the first quarter. Last year, a total of 198 incidents were reported in the first nine months, 73 in the third quarter.
Attacks are also getting more violent and the number of hostages taken and ransoms demanded have increased. The Centre reported that 581 crewmembers were held hostage, nine kidnapped, and nine killed. Seven others were missing and presumed dead.
The Gulf of Aden in Somalia is now the number one piracy hotspot, where 63 incidents were reported so far this year. Last year at this time, there were 26 incidents reported for the country.
?Pirates in the Gulf of Aden believe they can operate with impunity,? said Captain Pottengal Mukundan, IMB Director.
?We call on governments to direct their navies to disrupt the activities of the pirates, which is vital to protect this major world seaway,? he added.
Attacks are also on the rise in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, where 20 incidents were reported through September out of a total of 24 for the country. Although Indonesia was the third most active piracy hotspot, attacks were less virulent and involved mostly theft of valuables and stores.
The IMB"s Piracy Reporting Centre is the only 24-hour manned centre that receives and processes reports from around the world. The information gathered enables IMB to identify high-risk areas to governments, the first step in the chain of response.