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Everyone is glad to see that the number of hijacked ships and crew hostages off the Somali coast is falling. Unfortunately this does not mean that piracy in other parts of the world is decreasing. The most recent report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), published at the beginning of February, shows the opposite. The number of ships boarded by pirates in 2015 increased by 11% (203) compared with the previous year. One ship was shot at last year, resulting in the death of one seaman and at least 14 injured. The number of kidnappings doubled last year from 9 to 19, all taking place off the Nigerian coast. Otherwise it is in the classic pirate areas in South-east Asia (especially around Malaysia) that most of these attacks take place. The IMB also notes an increasing trend of attacks on ships in this region. The waters off the Somali coast are still classified as a risk area. Last year there were 27 attacks on ships off Vietnam, and four attacks on ships off China. With this background, the head of the IMB, Pottengal Mukundan, underlines the importance of continued high preparedness on ships in pirate areas.

Linda Sundgren

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