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March 21st, 2012

Drop in Pirate Attacks, But Numbers Still Too High

In 2011, there was a decline in the number of pirate attacks  reported across the world, including the Somali Coastline where most of these incidents occur annually. However, according to the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Center, the decline has been slight, and maritime piracy lawyers must continue their concern over piracy off the Somali coastline.

According to the maritime agency, there were a total of 439 recorded incidents of piracy last year. In comparison, there had been 445 incidents in 2010. However, 2011’s figures mark the first drop in pirate attacks in five years.

That may seem encouraging at first glance, but the numbers are anything but. Overall, 802 seamen were taken hostage in 2011, although that was a decline from 1,181 seamen held hostage in 2010. A total of 176 vessels were boarded, and 113 vessels were fired on. Apart from these, there were at least 115 attempted attacks.

Although the numbers indicate that there were fewer attacks from last year, piracy off the Somali coastline continues to concern maritime attorneys. More than 50% of the attacks occurred off the Somali coastline. A total of 237 attacks occurred across the globe, and that was actually an increase from the previous year. In 2010, there had been 219 attacks that occurred off the Somali coastline.

Meanwhile, Benin and Nigeria are also emerging as piracy hotspots. There were a total of 10 attacks reported off the Nigerian coastline, and although this may seem like a small number, the International Maritime Bureau is warning that this may not be the complete picture of the piracy threat off Nigeria.

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