Report: Sea piracy at lowest level worldwide in 6 years


A Somali man, part armed militia, part pirate, carries his high-caliber weapon on a beach in the central Somali town of Hobyo. Six foreigners, including three Britons and an American, have been jailed in Somalia for illegally bringing $3.6 million into the country, allegedly to pay ransoms to pirates.



Sea piracy fell to its lowest level in six years in 2013 due in large part to a crackdown on Somali pirates, a maritime body said.

There were 264 attacks reported worldwide last year -- a 40 percent drop since Somali piracy peaked in 2011, the International Maritime Bureau said in its latest annual global piracy report.

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Just 15 incidents were reported off the coast of Somalia in 2013.

Armed guards on ships, international navy patrols and the "stabilizing influence" of Somalia's central government all helped deter attacks last year, the IMB said in its report.

"The single biggest reason for the drop in worldwide piracy is the decrease in Somali piracy off the coast of East Africa,” said the bureau's director, Pottengal Mukundan.

However, an increase in piracy off the west coast of Africa, particularly from Nigeria, is of growing concern.

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Nigerian pirates were "particularly violent," laying claim to the death of one crew member and the kidnapping of 36 to hold onshore for ransom last year.

They accounted for 31 of the region's 51 attacks, more than in any year since 2008, according to the report.

Indonesia saw the most pirate attacks last year, accounting for more than 50 percent of all incidents.

But they were more "low-level opportunistic thefts, not to be compared with the more serious incidents off Africa," according to the report.

Attacks reported off India and Bangladesh were also largely petty thefts.