The international maritime community marked September 1 as World Maritime Day. This year, the focus was on eradicating piracy. According to the US Coast Guard , maritime piracy now costs the world economy between $7 billion and $12 billion a year. Staggering as those numbers are, the human costs of piracy are far greater.
This World Maritime Day, the maritime piracy lawyers at our firm have been especially concerned about the expansion of piracy across the globe. While the waters off the Somali coastline and the Horn of Africa continue to be hotbeds of piracy and some of the most dangerous waters in the world, copycat pirate attacks have been launched in waters elsewhere, including off Nigeria. Piracy in the Indian Ocean has also increased markedly.
According to the US Coast Guard, piracy continues to be a major problem, but there has been some progress made in reducing the number of successful attacks. Somali pirate ships used to have a 5% success rate in attacks about a year ago, and in 2011, those rates have dropped to just 17%.
This World Maritime Day, the US Coast Guard is encouraging vessel crews to seek the help of military forces for support while they sail through pirate-infested waters. According to the Coast Guard, vessels that have reported to the military support centers in these dangerous waters have been successful in thwarting attacks. With hundreds of seamen currently being held hostage by pirates around the world, prevention of attacks is still seen as the only way to deal with the piracy threat.