Piracy in 2014

Not many people are aware that piracy is still a huge risk for seafarers around the world.  And we’re not talking about the eye patch wearing, parrot totting kind.

The sort of pirates that are menacing the waters of Asia and West Africa are the crew kidnapping, siphoning gasoil and marine diesel and then stealing personal belongings kind.

2015 has begun and the piracy figures for 2014 have now been released.

Below we have listed some of the more significant findings:

  •  There were 183 actual and attempted piracy and robbery of ships in Asian waters were recorded for 2014 (against 150 in 2013).
  •  Asia accounted for three-quarters of global maritime piracy last year after a surge in tanker hijackings helped to fuel a 22 percent jump in armed robbery and pirate attacks on ships in the region.
  • There were 245 actual and attempted acts of piracy worldwide last year.
  • 12 tankers in Asian waters had their gasoil cargoes siphoned and stolen last year.
  • West Africa remained a cause for concern, with 41 attacks formally reported.
  • Some 442 seafarers were taken hostage in 2014, the figures for 2013 was 304.

Incidents appear to becoming more violent with an engineer being shot by pirates in December 2014 during an attack on a bitumen tanker.

Image credit – The  VP Asphalt 2 was attacked when sailing en route from Singapore to Vietnam. Crew members were tied up, with the pirates taking personal belongings.  After the attack, the engineer was found shot in the forehead.  A few hours later, he died in a Singapore hospital.

“The threat of violence is still reasonably significant,” Tim Wilkins, Asia regional manager for international tanker owners group, Intertanko advised.

“Using armed guards against hijackings, cargo thefts and shipboard robbery incidents around Singapore could result in an escalation in the level of violence used by the perpetrators,” said Mark Thomas, Asia Pacific business development manager at maritime security consultancy Dryad Maritime in Singapore.

The real number of incidents may never be known, as some shipping operators choose not to report episodes.

Want to read more about piracy?  Piracy on the rise, Piracy – The plague of seafaring or High Risk Areas.