Somali piracy cost the global economy $3.2bn in 2013, down nearly 50% on-year, according to the fourth annual Oceans Beyond Piracy report.
Greater use of private maritime security companies and the international naval deployment in the region have led to a dramatic reduction in the number of successful attacks — not one large vessel was seized in 2013.
That stands in sharp contrast to the situation at the height of the crisis three years ago, when up to a dozen vessels were held at any one time, as pirates extracted ransoms that often ran to millions of dollars.
Yet despite the amelioration, at least 50 seafarers are still held hostage in Somalia, where the average length of captivity is three years.
On the other side of the continent, attacks on merchant shipping are growing rapidly in the Gulf of Guinea, although the cost is harder to quantify, given the reluctance of owners to report frankly on the situation, the authors said. The report also highlighted a lack of regional co-operation and information-sharing.
“The efforts of the international community and the shipping industry have considerably reduced the threat of Somali piracy,” said Jens Madsen of the One Earth Future Foundation, one of the document’s co-authors.
“But we have yet to achieve the goal of Zero-Zero — zero vessels captured and zero hostages held.”
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