Marine agency reports decline in piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia

Published On: Monday, October, 22 2012 - 15:09:29 This post has been viewed 1200 times

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Attacks on shipping by pirates off the coast of Somalia are on the decline, according to a Malaysia-based maritime watchdog.

In its report on Monday, the International Maritime Bureau, said there were only 70 attacks of the coast of Somalia in the first nine months of 2012 compared to 199 attacks last year.

It said anti-piracy operations by international naval operations off the coast of the horn of African nation have significantly contributed to the decline.

According to the report, there was just one attempted hijacking of a vessel off the East African state between July and September,

“We welcome the successful robust targeting… by international navies in the high-risk waters off Somalia, ensuring these criminals are removed before they can threaten ships,” bureau director Captain Pottengal Mukundan said.

Mukundan said Somali pirates were still holding 11 vessels for ransom, with 167 crew members being held as hostages.

While the deployment of naval forces such as NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield and the European Union Naval Force, Somalia was highlighted as one reason for the fall, so too were initiatives by shipping operators such as the hiring of security teams, AFP news agency reported.

“It’s good news that hijackings are down, but there can be no room for complacency: these waters are still extremely high-risk and the naval presence must be maintained,” Mukundan said.

News of the decline in piracy off the coast of Somalia comes after a German court jailed 10 Somali men at the end of a two-year trial on piracy charges.

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