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Unreported acts of piracy distort overall figures, says maritime security expert

Somali piracy still poses a significant threat as numbers remain high and criminals remain heavily armed, say experts.

While International Maritime Bureau (IMB) statistics for 2012 depict a reduction in Somali piracy, now relegating the country to second place in number of acts of overall piracy, the danger faced from Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden remains as potent as ever. The country's pirates are still responsible for around 2/3rd of the world's hijackings, and attack more steaming ships than any other pirates in the world.

According to maritime security expert Typhon, the statistics that show a fall in the region are somewhat misleading. With the cost of piracy to business rocketing, companies are now finding ways to avoid the costly reporting process that takes place after an act of piracy happens.

Mr Ant Sharp, CEO of Typhon Maritime Security, explained, "Ships who report acts of piracy are then required to dock for long periods lasting up to a year to undergo investigation. This means severe disruption at a high cost to ships carrying valuable cargo. A third of the ships hit by pirates are tankers carrying crude oil or chemical products.

"Added on to these delays is the hike in insurance premia then suffered by the shipping company, who see their profits hit from two angles despite being the victims. This has lead to a situation where if an act of piracy takes place where no injury or heavy duty damage is sustained, it is becoming an increasingly common practice to deal with the incident internally."

Added to this issue, is that even organisations showing a decrease in piracy in the area acknowledge the importance of the anti-piracy measures undertaken by navies. The IMB explains the 'vital presence' of navies, and the increase in piracy that would result in its withdrawal. This warning comes simultaneously with the news that several of the world's leading navies are likely to be withdrawing or reducing their anti-piracy measures in the area.

"It is indisputable that the imminent reduction of naval presence around the Gulf of Aden will quickly result in increased levels of piracy".

Source : Exim News Service - LONDON, April 3

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