Ship hijackings up year on year in 2014; total piracy attacks down: IMB
Global ship hijacking incidents rose year on year in 2014, while the total number of piracy attacks have dwindled to an eight year low last year, the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau said in its annual report Wednesday.
Total number of attacks was down year on year to 245 from 264 in 2013, however 21 hijackings occurred in 2014, up from 12 in 2013, the IMB’s annual Piracy And Armed Robbery Against Ships report said.
“The global increase in hijackings is due to a rise in attacks against coastal tankers in South East Asia. Gangs of armed thieves have attacked small tankers in the region for their cargoes, many looking specifically for marine diesel and gas oil to steal and then sell,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB.
Indonesia remains the piracy hot spot, with 100 reported attacks in 2014.
The next highest number of attacks recorded by location was from Malaysia, which saw 24 attacks last year.
Product tankers were the most frequently attacked with 59 incidents, and bulk carriers came a close second with 55 reported incidents last year.
The waters around Pulau Bintan and South China Sea were highlighted as active piracy spots with 11 vessels hijacked in 2014, said the IMB.
A decrease was seen for Somalian piracy attacks — 11 incidents were reported in 2014, down from 15 in 2013. This fall was attributed to increased naval efforts, employment of armed guards, vessel preparedness and the Somalian central government.
“Somali pirates still have the capability and capacity to carry out attacks. [We believe] that a single successful hijacking of a merchant vessel will rekindle the Somali pirates’ appetite to resume its piracy efforts,” said the IMB PRC, adding that suspected Somali pirates were still holding 33 crew members for ransom as of December 31, 2014.