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Piracy – down but not out

For many, the horn of Africa and the waters off the coast of Somalia are synonymous with piracy. So there was some surprise when a few weeks ago it was reported that an attack on a chemical tanker 330kms of the Somalian coast was the first such incident in over two years. The attack was unsuccessful due in part to the security team on board. However, “This attack shows that pirates still have the intent to attack ships for ransom and cause misery to seafarers and their families,” Major General Rob Magowan, commander of the EU Naval Force Somalia, was quoted as saying. “It is imperative that the international community remains vigilant. The EU Naval Force is working with counter-piracy partners to coordinate efforts to ensure pirates do not once again terrorise the waters off the Somali coast.”

In fact the main focus for pirate activity has shifted to the waters of South East Asia, where the modus operandi is the kidnapping of the crew and the theft of part or all of cargos, rather than the capture of entire vessels. Early November saw such a case when six Vietnamese sailors were abducted in Philippine waters by a militant organisation. Some were freed, probably after ransoms were paid, but the same group is still thought to be holding 16 captives, including a Netherlands citizen, a German, five Malaysians, two Indonesians and seven Filipinos.

Users of BigOceanData can minimise such risks by viewing all recent pirate activity on the platform as well as recognised areas of risk around the world, and planning routes accordingly to avoid them. Click here for more information on AIS and maritime security, and here to view the ICC Live Piracy Report.

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