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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[INDUSTRY NEWS] Spotlight on global piracy

Piracy across the world continues to be a very real threat for international organizations, with hundreds of attacks reported each year. As a result, those involved in shipping have placed an increased importance on international maritime liability insurance and other preventative measures to ensure safe operations abroad.

However, a recent industry report indicated that the number of global piracy attacks decreased in 2013, and that trend is expected to continue well into 2014. This decrease is due in part to a higher level of global awareness about one of the world's biggest piracy hot spots: Somalia.

Deterring attacks
Late January marked the first time Somali pirates were active off the coast of Africa this year, according to a bulletin from Dryad Maritime Intelligence. This segment of piracy has historically been very dangerous, with a high number of incidents and particularly aggressive attacks on vessels.

Despite the hazards posed by shipping off the coast of Somalia, this initial attack was successfully thwarted by the mariners involved. Dryad Maritime Intelligence reported that the on-board security team acted quickly and appropriately to deter the attackers and prevent any property loss or injuries. The team's first course of action was to tell the pirates to turn back. That was ignored, and the Somali pirates then fired on the ship. The subsequent return fire from the crew was enough to deter the attack and force the men to retreat.

Dryad Maritime Intelligence noted that the shipping industry has a lot of power to prevent future instances of piracy. For example, mariners who are have chosen the appropriate international insurance coverage that meets industry regulations are better positioned to protect themselves in the event of an attack. In addition, the presence of armed security guards on board has quickly become one of the most effective methods to deter piracy. 

Global piracy rates decrease but constant vigilance is still recommended
While piracy is common in waters all across the world, the East Coast of Africa, and Somalia in particular, are some of the most dangerous locations for the shipping industry. However, a focus on security, international insurance and prevention in this specific area has helped to limit the number of attacks worldwide. 

The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau reported that incidents of piracy at sea have declined to their lowest levels in six years. At the heart of the decrease has been the drop in Somali piracy, now 40 percent below its peak in 2011.

"The single biggest reason for the drop in worldwide piracy is the decrease in Somali piracy off the coast of East Africa," said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan. "It is imperative to continue combined international efforts to tackle Somali piracy. Any complacency at this stage could re-kindle pirate activity."

While piracy rates have been on the way down over the past year, constant vigilance, proper safety and contingency plans and a comprehensive maritime insurance solution are highly recommended for any organizations seeking to operate in waters where piracy is a common threat.

Clements Worldwide has over 60 years of experiencing helping international organizations manage risks like piracy and other threats. Call us at 202 872 0060 or email to learn more. 

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