Piracy Hits New Heights
Pirate attacks rose 57 percent in 2000, and were nearly four and a half times higher when compared with 1991 according to a report by the ICC's International Maritime Bureau (1MB). In its annual Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships report for 2000, the 1MB — a division of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) — reports a total of 469 attacks on ships either at sea, at anchor or in port.
The violence used in the attacks also rose to new levels, with 72 seafarers killed and 99 injured in 2000, up from three killed and 24 injured the previous year. The number of hostages taken halved to 202 seafarers.
Ships were boarded in 307 instances, and a total of eight ships were hijacked.
The figures, compiled by the 1MB for January to December 2000, show an alarming rise in piracy and armed robbery in Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Malacca Straits, India, Ecuador and the Red Sea. Indonesia recorded the highest number of attacks, accounting for almost one quarter of the world total with 119 incidents.
Eighty-six ships were boarded, two ships were hijacked and attempted attacks were made on another 31 ships. It was also the location where the greatest violence was experienced, with many of the pirates armed with knives. The 1MB says there are no signs that the number of attacks will drop unless Indonesia takes serious steps to address the problem.
Amongst other world hotspots, the Malacca Straits witnessed a dramatic rise in attacks, up to 75 from 2 in 1999, despite the efforts of the Royal Malaysian Police to step up patrols in the area to tackle the problem. Its special task force captured two groups of pirates, but there are still known to be several other groups attacking and robbing ships as they transit this busy waterway, where the threat of an ecological catastrophe cannot be ignored.
Third place in the 2000 table goes to Bangladesh, with 55 attacks, up from 25 attacks in 1999. The Bangladeshi authorities have since taken action of their own, which resulted in a drop in attacks during the latter part of the year. Other substantial rises were recorded in India (35, up from 14 in 1999), Ecuador (13, up from two in 1999), and 13 attempted boardings on ships in the southern part of the Red Sea, where previously there had been no pirate activity.
One of the few areas to see a downturn in activity was the Singapore Straits (five incidents, down from 14). The annual report also draws attention to IMB's recent initiative to take the fight against piracy onto the Internet with weekly updates of attacks and warnings. The service, which has been well received in the shipping world, is compiled from daily status bulletins broadcast via satellite from the 1MB Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur.
Posting the information on the Internet means shipowners and land-based authorities are able to access the updates as well as ships at sea. The address for the weekly report is www.icc-ccs.org Piracy Attacks Surge On Tankers Piracy attacks on oil tankers surged to unprecedented levels during the first quarter of 2001, reinforcing fears that the onslaught will sooner or later result in ecological catastrophe. There has been an increase in the number of tankers attacked, Jayant Abhyankar, deputy director of piracy investigator the International Maritime Bureau (1MB) said. "Before it was mostly bulk-carriers." Nearly half of the 56 cargo ships attacked in the first quarter of the year were tankers, compared to 28 percent in last year's first quarter, according to the IMB's latest report.
Abhyankar warned that pirate attacks on tankers in Asia's crowded shipping lanes were a growing threat to navigation. The problem was recently illustrated on March 19 by an attack on the 3,000-ton oil tanker Matsumi Maru as it steamed through the Malacca Straits.
The pirates took the duty second officer, and other crew members hostage, reads an account of the attack.
They then tried to take another officer hostage, but he resisted and managed to grab a knife and torch from one of the pirates.
Tankers were the target of 30 percent of pirate attacks across the whole of last year, and the 1MB said it feared that an equal number of attacks go unreported. Petroleum product tankers have proven to be a key target with their valuable cargoes of diesel and gasoline, which can easily be sold on the black market.
Anti-Piracy Life-Jacket Developed An armored lifejacket, designed to protect sailors in case of pirate attacks was developed last year. The jacket conforms to International Maritime Organization standards for life vests and has integral knife and bullet resistance. Weighing 3.5kg, the Lorica Armored Lifevest has body armor encased in a high tensile polymer fabric that combines inherent buoyancy and water resistance with stab and bulletproofing. It is currently being tested by the German customs service in the Baltic and has already been ordered by police in Thailand.
Other stories from June 2001 issue
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- MariTel Completes Field Test of Wireless DSC VHF page: 10
- ASRY Converts Heavy-Lift Crane Ship page: 12
- Transfer of Ownership Commences at Grand Bahama Shipyard page: 12
- Hydrex Breaks Ground with Repair page: 13
- Detyens Shipyard Profits From Dredger Work page: 14
- Derecktor Signs Contracts For Two Vessels page: 15
- Rodriquez Cantieri Navali Wins $57M, 10-Boat Contract page: 16
- Rodriquez Cantieri Navali Launches Largest Fast Ferry page: 18
- Freeport Shipbuilding Delivers Aluminum Research Vessel page: 18
- Image Marine Delivers Aquacat To Blackbeard's Cruises page: 19
- VT Concludes Sandown Class page: 20
- VT Reaches Milestone With New RN Survey Ships page: 20
- EuroFerrys Takes First Auto Express 101 page: 22
- Caterpillar Introduces Compact Marine Propulsion Engines page: 24
- Jotun Expands U.S. Presence page: 26
- Maritime World Joins Together at Asia Pacific Maritime 2001 page: 28
- Camacho Returns to His Roots page: 30
- U.S. Shipbuilding Industry: A Bright Future Tempered with Challenges page: 34
- No Leg Left to Stand On - An Obituary for MarAd? page: 36
- Bordelon Marine To Christen First of Three Utility Boats page: 38
- SeaStreak Launches New High-Speed Catamaran page: 39
- Lassen (DDG 82) Commissioned In Florida page: 40
- Future Requirements for Shuttle Tankers in the Gulf page: 42
- MARCO Shipyard Delivers Ahead Of Schedule page: 47
- Shipbuilding Prices Firm Up page: 48
- Strong Market Continues page: 50
- Frozen Gas Market Heats Up page: 50
- Freight Rates To Fly High In Coming Years page: 51
- Greasing the Skids page: 56
- State of the P&I Market: As Stocks Drop, Rates Will Rise page: 58
- Innovators Recognized At Patent Ceremony page: 62
- New Launching Platform For Navy page: 63
- Tests Prove CLT Prop Characteristics page: 67
- Texas Maritime Academy Ship Simulator Attracts All Levels page: 68
- World Industry Drives Freight Rates Up page: 70
- MITAGS Chooses STN Atlas For Major Upgrade page: 73
- Superior Diesel and ALGAE-X Sign Distributor Agreement page: 78
- Incat Takes Top Honors At Cruise & Ferry page: 80
- Portland Remains New England's Largest Tonnage Port page: 81
- An Artistic Interpretation page: 84
- Rolls-Royce to Supply Podded Propulsion For QM2 page: 90
- BV Proposes 12,500-TEU Mega Containership page: 92
- Piracy Hits New Heights page: 95
- New Welding Process Put To The Test page: 96
- Analysts Predict Hutchison Whampoa Expansion Will Offer Long Term Potential page: 97
- Osprey Maritime To Sell LNG Operations For $635 Million page: 97
- Norwegian Line Unable to Remedy Leaky Sprinklers on the Norway page: 98
- Analysts Speculate Possible Carnival / Hapag-Lloyd Deal page: 98