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SE Asia hotspot for piracy in Q1, says IMB report

SE Asia hotspot for piracy in Q1, says IMB report
Pirate attacks in Southeast Asia were more than double those recorded off East and West Africa combined in the first quarter of 2015 according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Some 30 attacks were reported in the region, with 22 vessels boarded and six successfully hijacked, IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) said.

In Indonesia, where 21 attacks took place, IMB warned vessels were particularly vulnerable from pirates “normally armed with guns, knives and/or machetes” at anchorages in Tanjung Priok – Jakarta, Muara Berau, Nipah and Belawan, and off the islands of Bintan and Karimun.

“Many attacks may have gone unreported. Recent meetings between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC resulted in positive actions by the Indonesian Authorities which had so far brought incidents down.”

However, Potengal Mukudan director of the IMB warned: “The frequency of these hijackings in Southeast Asia is an increasing cause for concern. There’s a risk that the attacks and violence could increase if left unabated."

Two further attacks were also reported in the Singapore Straits, one in the Malacca Straits, three in Malaysia and one in Thailand.

Meanwhile in Africa 11 attacks were recorded with seven boardings and two hijackings. In the Gulf of Aden and Somalia regions no incidents were recorded, which IMB put down to “The combined efforts of the Navies in the region, along with the increased hardening of vessels and BMP4 compliance, employment of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP), and the stabilizing factor of the central government within Somalia”.

In Nigeria, where seven attacks were recorded, “Generally, all waters in Nigeria remain risky. Pirates are often well armed, violent and have attacked, hijacked and robbed vessels and kidnapped crews along the coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters. Attacks reported up to about 170nm from coast. In many incidents, pirates hijacked the vessels for several days and ransacked the vessels and stole part cargo usually gas oil.”

In total, IMB recorded 22 pirate attacks on bulk carriers in Q1, with seven attacks on product tankers and four on boxships.