Bolder Or More Desperate?

Somali pirates are becoming more daring and active but their success rate is tailing off, a new report says.

Hijackings have fallen by one third this year thanks to the efforts of navies and the actions taken by shipowners and crews to protect their vessels, Bergen Risk Solutions says.

It notes the high monsoon waves pirates braved to target four vessels off Socotra last week as an example of the risks the gangs are now willing to take.

“The attacks on 11 and 12 June indicate that the pirates may have become bolder – or more desperate – but not necessarily more successful,” Bergen Risk Solutions said.

It counts 22 successful hijackings between the start of 2011 and the end of May, 10 less than in the same period a year ago.

“It is fair to assume that increased awareness and mitigation by masters, managers and owners have contributed to the fall in the pirates’ success rate,” the report said.

“Other very probable contributing factors for the drop in hijackings are the increased focus on disruption of PAGs (pirate action groups) and motherships by counter-piracy naval forces, and the employment of armed guards onboard ships in transit.

“There has certainly been no lack of effort by Somali pirates in attacking shipping in 2011, which increased from 77 reported hijacking attempts at the end of May 2010 to 112 at the same time this year.”

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