Number of pirate attacks sinking in East African waters

East Africa Piracy declinePrecautionary measures adopted by merchant ships have significantly reduced the number of pirate attacks off Africa's East Coast. (Image source: Official US Navy/ Flickr)Pirate activity off the coast of East Africa has undergone a significant drop due to merchant vessels taking better precautionary measures against potential attacks

Figures from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) have revealed that from January to June 2012 the Gulf of Aden experienced 13 actual and attempted attacks, marking a considerable decline from the 100 cases reported over the same period in 2009.

Rory Lamrock, maritime analyst for risk-mitigation firm AKE, told African Review that the decline was the result of improved vessel hardening and crew preparedness, the increased number of armed guards upon merchant vessels, and recent successful navy operations to deter piracy.

“The combined effect of these three factors has pushed pirate attack success rates right down to between five-10 per cent, compared to around 30-35 per cent in 2010 and 2011,” explained Lamrock.

Approximately 1,500 vessels travel through the Suez Canal, which links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with the Mediterranean Sea, every month, which equated to more than 430mn tons of cargo in the first half of this year.

IMB has announced that the last reported attack by Somali pirates, who threaten shipping activity across the entire East Africa passage, took place on 26 June 2012.

Cyrus Mody, assistant director of the IMB, told reporters earlier this month, "It is traditionally a quiet time for pirate attacks, but there have always been at least a handful of incidents even during the monsoon months of July and August.

"It's the first time we have had a full month where nothing has happened since before Somali piracy really grew into a major problem in 2007."

 

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