The threat of maritime piracy has mushroomed enormously in the past few years. The news channels on a daily basis have a new incident to report about pirates attacking a crew and looting the vessel or hijacking a ship, and even causing harm to the crew when their ransom demands are not met by the authorities. We chart the world’s most dangerous waters by piracy incidents recorded in the past five years.
10 piracy affected areas where the terror and threat of sea pirates has reached looming proportions are:
- Malacca Straits- Located in the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Malacca has been a very prominent area affected by marine piracy. Since the Strait forms a commercial getaway for the Suez Canal, Egypt and Europe, in addition to being one of the most important Indo-Sino marine navigation routes; the area is susceptible to high incidences of maritime piracy.
- South China Sea– Mostly Malaysians or Indonesians, the marine pirates in the South China Sea are regarded to be amongst the most dangerous pirates who ply their nefarious activities. The South China Sea piracy occurs in the Malaysian water area leading to a cause of concern for authorities in the country.
- Gulf of Aden- The entrance to the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden is another affected piracy sea area. The Gulf forms an important trading route leading into the Suez Canal and geographically well-positioned with the anarchic Somalia.
- Gulf of Guinea- An emerging area of piracy activities, the Gulf of Guinea spans a major portion of North-Western and Southern Africa (Angola). It is a very important trade route for crude oil tankers to the European and American continents, making it an appropriate target for the wrongdoers.
- Benin– Benin in Africa is yet another geographic area infested with marine pirates. The area has been listed as one of the high risk areas in terms of marine shipping. The IMO has taken various steps to counter maritime piracy in this piracy affected area, though positive results are yet to be seen.
- Nigeria– Nigeria in the Western part of Africa is regarded to be a hive of piracy activities. The threat of piracy is so high in the region that it has been rated as being one of the most risky areas for marine cargo transportation. The factor of the security cover provided by the Nigerian naval authorities is also lacking, leading to increase in sea piracy in this area.
- Somalia– The main reason for marine piracy occurring at mammoth proportions in Somalia is because of extreme poverty in the region caused due to civil war, government ineffectuality and vast dumps of marine wastes – toxic in nature – existing in the Somali sea-waters. Because of piracy, there have been other problems in the form of fast-increasing premium rates for insurance policies.
- Indonesia– Indonesia is also amongst the highly affected piracy areas in the world. Some of the areas that are targeted by the sea pirates are the Anambas, Natuna and the Merundung Islands, where pirates have been reported to attack ships during night-time as opposed to in the daylight. The Indonesian authorities’ punitive response to the captured pirates in the country is also very lackadaisical raising major concerns across the world.
- Arabian Sea- The Gulf of Oman is one of the areas in the Arabian Sea which has been targeted repeatedly by the sea pirates. However, international organisations and authorities have downplayed the extent of security cover to be provided by them in these areas, as compared to the ones offered in piracy infected areas like the Gulf of Aden and the Somali coasts.
- Indian Ocean– The waters of the Indian Ocean are also falling prey to the acts of sea pirates. These pirates hail from the ravaged nation of Somalia and have been causing problems to Indian as well as ships hailing from other countries. The Indian Ocean is an unavoidable marine navigation route, thereby highlighting the nature of the problem far more starkly.
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