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Southeast Asia piracy continues to rise: IMB

Southeast Asia piracy continues to rise: IMB
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported that so far this year 250 crew members have been taken hostage, 14 assaulted, 10 kidnapped, nine injured and one killed in incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships.

In its report for the first half of 2015, IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre tallies 134 incidents of piracy and armed robbery, an increase on the 116 reports in the first half of 2014. Pirates boarded 106 vessels, carrying out 13 hijackings and 15 attempted attacks.

Southeast Asia continues to be a hot spot for crime, with five hijackings in the second quarter continuing a trend of a hijack roughly every fortnight.

Reports from Indonesia accounted from more than a third of all reports and have been on an upward trend, from 16 reports in H1 2010 to 54 in the same period this year, although mostly opportunistic theft from ships with three hijackings and three attempted attacks.

IMB has noted some improvement in Southeast Asia however, as regional authorities increase their cooperation and increase detection capabilities. An eight-man gang of pirates was arrested in June, and nine Indonesian pirates were convicted and handed significant custodial sentences for the January hijacking of a product tanker.

Three separate events off the cost of Nigeria accounted for 10 crew kidnappings, with 11 incidents in total reported in the area. Elsewhere in West Africa, 45 seafarers were taken hostage off the coast of Ghana with one killed.

In its warnings for Nigeria IMB noted: "In many incidents, pirates hijacked the vessels for several days and ransacked the vessels and stole part cargo usually gas oil. A number of crewmembers were also injured and kidnapped in past attacks. Generally, all waters in/off Nigeria remain risky. Vessels are advised to be vigilant, as many attacks may have gone unreported.

"Although no attacks have been reported off Somalia [in the second quarter], IMB advises that the security situation in the Horn of Africa remains uncertain," the report stated. "IMB urges ship masters to remain vigilant when transiting these waters and to adhere to the industry’s Best Management Practice."