The International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed that piracy on the world's seas is at its lowest third-quarter level since 2006, but warns of the threat of continuing violent attacks off the East and West coasts of Africa.
While the frequency of pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa has fallen to its lowest level since 2009, this is no time to celebrate. Somali pirates still hold two vessels for ransom with 60 crew members as hostages. More alarming, however, is the increase in the capabilities of pirate groups in West Africa's Gulf of Guinea, now challenging Somalia as the world's most dangerous place to sail.
Somalia and Gulf of Aden still have pirate-infested waters, but over the last five quarters, a new country's national waters have become the most heavily pirated on earth, according to data from the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre.
The recent revelation that the owner of an Algerian cargo ship whose crew was held by Somali pirates paid them $2.6m in ransom is yet another indication that the rewards these denizens reap for their illegal, life-threatening work remain a serious stumbling block to ending maritime organized crime, said William H. Watson, president and COO of AdvanFort Company, a maritime security solutions provider.
Pirate attacks off the Somali coast have declined by more than 54 percent, leading to a softening of insurance premiums for the global shipping community but raising controversy surrounding the use of onboard private armed security contractors, according to the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre.