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Piracy in Q3 2011 at record high

Pirates attacked a record number of ships worldwide in the first nine months of 2011, but are making off with fewer vessels due to better policing by international naval forces, a maritime watchdog said on Tuesday.

October 18, 2011 4:41 by

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said its reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur recorded 352 attacks on ships, mainly by Somali pirates, from January to the end of September, up from 289 for the same period in 2010.

“Figures for piracy and armed robbery at sea in the past nine months are higher than we’ve ever recorded in the same period of any past year,” IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said in a statement.

While pirates attempted to hijack 199 ships worldwide in the first nine months of this year, they managed to seize control of only 24 ships compared to 35 in the same period last year.

The IMB said the fall in the number of hijackings was due to better policing and intervention since the start of 2009 by naval forces deployed off the Gulf of Aden, which links Europe to Asia.

“Somali pirates are finding it harder to hijack ships and get the ransom they ask for. The navies deserve to be complimented on their excellent work: they are a vital force in deterring and disrupting pirate activity.” said Mukundan.

Piracy and armed robberies in Asian waters, including the Indian subcontinent, fell to 87 incidents over nine months, compared to 106 in the same period in 2010. (Reporting by Razak Ahmad; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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