Only 12 pirate attacks in November
There were only 12 pirate attacks in November, according to figures released by EU NAVFOR for its area of operation.
While some sources have questioned such a low number of reported attacks, the figures themselves make for interesting reading, said Neptune Maritime Security in a note.
Although the data does not list latitude and longitude positions for the attacks, they still demonstrate the considerable ‘reach’ Somali pirates have in surrounding waters, despite the presence of the international naval force, with vessels being attacked 420 nautical miles off Mogadishu.
Of more interest, said Neptune Maritime Security, were the successful hijackings, with just two vessels taken by Somali pirates, both of which were fishing vessels.
While the measures taken to avoid hijacking in five cases are listed as ‘unknown’, just one vessel cited best management practice (BMP) as the reason for its successful escape from pirates.
Meanwhile, the other five merchant vessels all credited private armed security guards as the reason the attacks upon them failed.
While this will not come as a surprise to anyone in the maritime security industry, it does reinforce the fact that so far, not a single vessel operating with an armed vessel protection team (VPT) has fallen into the hands of Somali pirates, the security company said.
As expected, the vessels which evaded attack in November were all ‘high value’ targets which could, if successfully hijacked, have provided their Somali captors with sizeable ransom payouts.
As maritime insurance companies begin to offer considerable policy discounts to clients who use armed VPTs to guard their vessels, such data cannot be ignored by shipping companies and countries, which have yet to green light the use of armed security guards on board their vessels.
Despite the end of the monsoon season, the anticipated surge in attacks has not yet arrived. Risk Intelligence, a Danish maritime intelligence company, cited continued bad weather in the Horn of Africa as potentially reducing the frequency of attacks.
That, combined with pressure on land from local authorities (police in Somalia’s Puntland region recently arrested 150 suspected pirates) and military action against al Shabaab by the Kenyan military may well be impacting pirate activity.
Analysts are agreed, however, that vessels employing a layered approach to maritime security, which includes both the use of BMP and armed VPTs along with shore-based intelligence, as the best possible means to thwart pirate attacks, Neptune concluded.
Source: Tanker Operator