annual Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships report for 2000, the IMB - a
division of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) - reports a
total of 469 attacks on ships either at sea, at anchor or in port.
violence used in the attacks also rose to new levels, with 72 seafarers killed
and 99 injured in 2000, up from 3 killed and 24 injured the previous year. The
number of hostages taken halved to 202 seafarers. Ships were boarded in 307
instances and a total of eight ships were hijacked.
believes that a large number of attacks remain unreported and reports of more
incidents relating to 2000 are expected in the coming months.
figures, compiled by the IMB for January to December 2000, show an alarming
rise in piracy and armed robbery in Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Malacca Straits,
India, Ecuador and the Red Sea.
recorded the highest number of attacks, accounting for almost one quarter of
the world total with 119 incidents. 86 ships were boarded, two ships were
hijacked and attempted attacks were made on another 31 ships. It was also the
location where the greatest violence was experienced, with many of the pirates
armed with knives. The IMB says there are no signs that the number of attacks
will drop unless Indonesia takes serious steps to address the problem.
Amongst other world hotspots, the Malacca Straits witnessed
a dramatic rise in attacks, up to 75 from 2 in 1999, despite the efforts of the
Royal Malaysian Police to step up patrols in the area to tackle the problem. Its
special task force captured two groups of pirates, but there are still known to
be several other groups attacking and robbing ships as they transit this busy
waterway, where the threat of an ecological catastrophe cannot be ignored.
Third place in the 2000 table goes to Bangladesh, with 55
attacks, up from 25 attacks in 1999. The Bangladeshi authorities have since
taken action of their own, which resulted in a drop in attacks during the
latter part of the year. Other substantial rises were recorded in India (35, up
from 14 in 1999), Ecuador (13, up from 2 in 1999), and 13 attempted boardings
on ships in the southern part of the Red Sea, where previously there had been
no pirate activity. One of the few areas to see a downturn in activity was the
Singapore Straits (5 incidents, down from 14).
The annual report also draws attention to IMB's recent
initiative to take the fight against piracy onto the Internet with weekly
updates of attacks and warnings. The service, which has been well received in
the shipping world, is compiled from daily status bulletins broadcast via
satellite from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur. Posting the
information on the Internet means shipowners and land-based authorities are
able to access the updates as well as ships at sea. The address for the weekly
report is www.icc-ccs.org
The work of the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre is funded by 17
organizations, mostly P&I Clubs, ship owners and insurers. The Centre is
now recognized throughout the maritime industry for its valuable contribution
in quantifying the problem of world piracy and providing assistance, free of
charge to ships that have been attacked.
The IMB'sAnnual Report on piracy seeks not only to list the facts, but also to analyse
developments in piracy and to identify piracy-prone areas so that the crew can
take preventive action.