Piracy increases on the high seas

Heavily-armed pirates from Somalia have hijacked at least 30 ships this year. Spreading lawlessness, a rampant insurgency and a worsening aid crisis onshore look set to drive that number higher.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 29 Aug 2008, 6:45 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:04 PM

Somalia's 3,300 km (2,060 mile) coastline is considered one of the world's most dangerous stretches of water.

Here are some details about piracy:

Global incidents:

· A total of 114 incidents were reported in the first six months of 2008, slightly less than the 126 reported in the same period in 2007.

· But piracy incidents recorded in the second quarter of 2008 totalled 62, versus 52 in the first quarter.


· Africa remains a piracy flashpoint with the highest recorded number of second-quarter incidents taking place in Somalia with 24 incidents, followed by 18 in Nigeria.

· Of the 24 Somali incidents, 19 occurred in the Gulf of Aden, where at least eight vessels reported being fired on by pirates with rocket propelled grenade launchers and automatic weapons.

· Intelligence sources say there are now two suspicious trawlers in the Gulf of Aden believed to be pirate mother vessels looking to attack ships with the intent to hijack.

Recent incidents:

· Aug 8 - A group of gunmen freed two German tourists held captive in northern Somalia for two months after their yacht was attacked in the Gulf of Aden. An accomplice of the gang said they were paid a $1 million ransom.

· Aug 12 - A Thai cargo ship, the MV Thor Star, is taken while delivering plywood to Aden but its 28 Thai crew were unharmed. A Nigerian tug boat, the MT Yenegoa Ocean, was also seized around the same time.

· Aug 19 - Pirates seized a palm oil tanker, Bunga Melati Dua, belonging to Malaysian national carrier MISC. The tanker, with 39 crew on board had on board 32,000 tonnes of crude palm oil, worth $2.5 million at current prices.

· Aug 21 - Pirates seized a German cargo ship with nine crew on board. Pirates also hijacked an Iranian bulk carrier and a Japanese-operated tanker.

· Aug 23 - Pirates opened fire at a Japanese-operated general cargo ship, with 20 crew on board in the Gulf of Aden, but the vessel managed to survive the hijacking attempt.

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