Piracy on the world’s seas has reached a five-year low, with 297 ships attacked in 2012, compared with 439 in 2011, according to a global piracy report by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau.
Worldwide figures were brought down by a huge reduction in Somali piracy, though East and West Africa remain the worst hit areas, with 150 attacks in 2012.
Globally, 174 ships were boarded by pirates last year, while 28 were hijacked and 28 were fired upon. The bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center also recorded 67 attempted attacks. The number of people taken hostage onboard fell to 585 from 802 in 2011, while a further 26 were kidnapped for ransom in Nigeria. Six crewmembers were killed and 32 were injured or assaulted.
“IMB’s piracy figures show a welcome reduction in hijackings and attacks to ships. But crews must remain vigilant, particularly in the highly dangerous waters off East and West Africa,” said bureau director Capt. Pottengal Mukundan.
The bureau offers the latest piracy reports free of charge. To request a PDF version of the report by email, visit ICC IMB Piracy Centre. The latest attacks may also be viewed on the IMB Live Piracy Map.
More significantly to recreational cruisers, the report reveals that for the first time in many years, there is not a single report of a private yacht being attacked by pirates anywhere in the world.
In 2008 there were nine yachts attacked, in 2009 six, in 2010 only one, then it spiked to four in 2011.
“Either the pirates have finally realized yachts are measly pickings or the campaign to prevent yachts from sailing in dangerous areas has worked, and maybe a bit of both,” says a report on the findings by Sail-World.com.