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Piracy figures down sharply, but good statistics mask a serious problem

A report by the International Maritime Bureau launched today shows a remarkable drop in Somali-based piracy, falling from 236 incidents in 2011 to just 11 in 2014.

The fall indicates that the military operation combined with industry best practices has finally had a significant impact on piracy in the Indian Ocean.

But the UK Chamber has warned that significant progress made in the Indian Ocean should not mask significant security threats to shipping and seafarers in other regions, both off West Africa and in South East Asia. – where a violent ‘petro-piracy’ is thriving.

UK Chamber CEO Guy Platten said:

“These new figures are welcome, and show that military and civil cooperation has made a huge difference to solving maritime security concerns.

“But whilst most of the media and Hollywood attention has been focused on Somali-based piracy, the worrying trends emerging in the Gulf of Guinea and Singapore Straits have received little attention.

“This new form of maritime criminality, which often has links to shore-based oil theft, is taking place within the jurisdictions of functioning nation-states, but ones that pay little attention to maritime security and governance.  Put simply, these regions have become a breeding ground for future pirates.

 “Unlike in Somali-based piracy, these new threats do not require a military response.  Rather, the UK and other global leaders should pressure governments in West Africa and South East Asia to develop better maritime governance structures and stronger law enforcement."

Source: UK Chamber of Shipping

Photo: EU NAVFOR

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