No Piracy Off Somalia Coast From 2012

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The Coast of Somalia, a piracy hot spot, has remained calm for the past three years from 2012.  With the pirate activity coming down, there is a great sigh of relief to the consumers and shipowners.

Military incursions on and off-shore Somalia have helped end piracy attacks on key shipping routes around the Gulf of Aden.  But, maritime experts called for caution.  The combined efforts of navies in the region, along with greater compliance with the Best Management Practices guidelines against Somali piracy, the employment of private security contractors and a stabilizing government had the positive development.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said no piracy attack has been reported on the key routes this year but, it added that suspected Somali pirates continue to hold 29 crew members for ransom.

IMB director Pottengal Mukundan however said that the threat of piracy is not “eliminated” and urged vessels to maintain vigilance.  It is a trend since May 2012 when the last successful hijacking took place, raising hope for more reliable shipping services and lower cost of goods leaving and entering the East African market.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has in the past few years bled the global shipping industry billions in ransom payouts to secure captured vessels, cargo and crew.  It increased operational costs due to higher insurance premiums and use of longer alternative routes round the Cape not forgetting hiring of special security personnel to escort vessels through the Gulf of Aden and other measures such as watchtowers and razor wire.  Prices of basic industrial and household items have also risen sharply.

A deployment of naval forces around the Gulf of Aden and the pre-emptive action (strikes on their bases) against pirates by International navies had helped to reduce piracy attacks in the past two years.  The shore of Somalia seems contained but, other hotspots around the world registered mixed trends.  In Southeast Asia, a piracy crackdown appears to be bearing fruit, with only two hijackings reported in the third quarter of 2015.

Indonesian and Malaysian authorities have also arrested and in some cases prosecuted, members of product tanker hijacking gangs, notably those behind the MT Sun Birdie and MT Orkim Harmony attacks.

The two hijackings, on a small product tanker in the Straits of Malacca and a fishing vessel 40-miles west of Pulau Langkawi, were among 47 incidents the IMB piracy reporting centre recorded globally.

Source: The East African