The year so far is the worst on record for Somali pirate attacks and the incidents are increasingly violent, says the latest quarterly report from the International Maritime Bureau.
The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 163 attacks by Somali pirates, up from 100 in the first six months of 2010, representing 60% of pirate attacks worldwide.
According to the IMB database Somali pirates are currently holding at least 20 vessels and 420 crew.
“In the last six months, Somali pirates attacked more vessels than ever before and they’re taking higher risks,” said IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan.
“This June, for the first time, pirates fired on ships in rough seas in the Indian Ocean during the monsoon season. In the past, they would have stayed away in such difficult conditions,” said Mukundan.
Despite the higher number of attacks the pirates’ success rate has fallen with 21 ships hijacked so far, down from 27 last year. The IMB attributes this drop to the disruptive activities of international navies.
The IMB warned that pirates are increasingly likely to use violence during their attacks firing machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and vessels including chemical and oil tankers.