Piracy – a clear threat to seafarers

Oceans Beyond Piracy, the maritime advocacy group, has released it’s fifth annual State of Maritime Piracy Report.

The study results are shocking, with some of the findings below:

  • Southeast Asian piracy is especially dangerous for seafarers based on the quantity of attacks and 90% boarding success rate.  Nearly 3,600 seafarers were on board vessels boarded by pirates in SE Asia.
  • Gulf of Guinea piracy continues at unacceptable levels. There have been no piracy prosecutions and there is a lack of effective cooperation between regional governments and industry. Total economic cost estimated at $983 million for 2014.
  • Collective efforts to address Somali piracy continue to dwindle, while there are indications that pirate activity and intent remain. Total economic cost for 2014 estimated at $2.3 Billion.
  • At least 5,000 seafarers attacked in Southeast Asia, the Gulf of Guinea, and Western Indian Ocean in 2014.

Analysis of pirate attacks in Southeast Asia documents a clear and reemerging threat to seafarers. The study found that more than 90% of the reported attacks resulted in pirates successfully boarding target vessels, and 800 seafarers were involved in incidents in South East Asia where violence or the threat of violence was specifically documented.

This report was issued prior to the latest piracy drama that occurred in Malaysia’s waters.  Oil tanker, the Orkim Harmony, was carrying approx 6,000 tonnes of highly flammable RON95 fuel from Malacca to Kuantan Port in Malaysia.  22 crew members were on board the tanker including 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and one Myanmar national. Communications were lost with the vessel on the 11th June.  Search for the vessel, which was by this time presumed hijacked, commenced on the 12th June with Malaysian authorities requesting the assistance of neighbouring countries and forces that happened to be in the area. It wasn’t until the 17th June that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) spotted the tanker, complete with a new paint job and a new name KIM HARMON.  Minutes before the RAAF crew ran out of fuel, they reported the findings to Malaysian Authorities and captured this classic picture of the hijacked vessel.

^ A Sharpie was used to change the name of the vessel

Eight Indonesians (shown below), who were suspected to be the pirates were found in Vietnam waters after they fled the vessel.

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Image credit: ReCAAP