Somali Pirate Activity Reaches 15-Month High

Published Nov 19, 2012 1:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ten ships were hijacked by Somali pirates in March of the year alone, making this the most attacks in one month since December 2010. According to Bloomberg, pirate gangs may also be moving to attack larger merchant vessels this month.

Four of the seized ships were used to make more attacks, rather than the usual holding for ransom acts. Maritime security experts believe that pirate groups will be encouraged by the latest hijackings and will be moved on organizing more attacks over the next several weeks. Additionally, calm weather conditions forecasted for April are favorable to pirates, as it makes it easier to launch skiffs and access a targeted vessel’s deck.

A recent study done by One Earth Future Foundation showed that Somali pirate attacks rose to a record 237 in 2011, with ransoms worth $160 million paid to release 31 hijacked vessels. It also reported that pirates based in Somalia cost governments and the shipping industry as much as $6.9 billion last year.

Currently, sea pirates have 13 vessels detained with 197 crewmen taken as hostages, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).