KUALA LUMPUR: Policing by international navies in the Gulf of Aden has proven effective as attacks by Somali pirates this year have fallen to its lowest since 2009, according to an International Maritime Bureau (IMB) third quarter report released yesterday.
The International Chamber of Commerce IMB revealed that there had only been one attack reported in the past three months compared with 36 incidents in the corresponding period last year.
IMB director Captain Pottengal Mukundan said policing and intervention by international navies were proving to be effective deterrents, along with ships employing armed guards and other security measures.
“Despite the significant decrease in the number of reported attacks by Somali pirates, IMB advises seafarers to remain vigilant in high-risk waters around Somalia, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
“The drop in Somali piracy has brought down global figures for piracy and armed robbery at sea to 233 incidents this year, the lowest third quarter total since 2008.
“Between January and last month, there were 70 attacks reported compared with 199 for the same period last year. However, there can be no room for complacency as these waters are still considered extremely high-risk areas,” Pottengal was quoted as saying in the report.
As of Sept 30, suspected Somali pirates were holding 12 vessels for ransom with 167 crew members onboard as hostages. IMB said at least 20 hostages had been held for more than 30 months.
Last month, seven Somali pirates, including three juveniles, were charged with discharging firearms on Royal Malaysian Navy commandos.
The seven, Ahmed Othman Jamal, 26, Abdil Eid Hasan, 21, Koore Mohamed Abdile, 19, Abdi Hakim Mohd Abdi, 19, and three 16-year-olds allegedly committed the offence onboard MT Bunga Laurel, 250 nautical miles off Oman, on Jan 20, last year.
It was reported that the seven had allegedly boarded the MT Bunga Laurel armed with guns with the intention to hijack the tanker. On board were 23 Filipino crew members.
The siege of the tanker was brought to an end when commandos from the Malaysian navy auxiliary ship stormed the vessel, where a shoot-out ensued.