Counter-piracy task forces urge ship owners to keep up their guard in spite of piracy drop


The counter-piracy task forces operating in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia have warned ship owners to remain vigilant, in spite of a 54% drop in global piracy for the first half of this year.

The European Union Naval Force Somalia (running Operation Atalanta), NATO and Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) called upon the shipping industry to continue to take anti-piracy measures despite the current downward trend in piracy events.

In a recent report published by the International Maritime Bureau it was announced that there was a 54% drop in global piracy during the first half of 2012. One of the key contributors to this development was the fall in both Somali hijackings and attacks. There are many factors which have led to this, two of which were the work of military forces in the region and self-protection measures taken by commercial shipping
“We currently see a tactical and reversible success. It is of utmost importance that pressure on Somali pirates and their business model is maintained and even increased as the strategic context, the situation in Somalia allowing for pirates to act, has not yet changed,” said Deputy Operation Commander Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi. “International Navies and all merchant vessels transiting the High Risk Area, need to remain vigilant and uphold their respective responsibilities to support the fight against piracy.”

By joining forces, counter piracy efforts are more effective and can achieve more than any one ship, navy, organisation or country working alone, the European Union Naval Force said. “Even with all this military presence, the efforts of our naval forces cannot guarantee safety in the region. It is for this reason that CTF 151, NATO and the EU remind all ship-owners, operators and managers to continue to educate and train their mariners in both the threat and how to mitigate it.”
“Working together the military and the maritime industry is having a positive effect in frustrating the efforts of pirates. Despite the recent encouraging news now is not the time to lessen the efforts of all stakeholders in this area,” the EU Naval Force cautioned.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, there have been 210 incidences of piracy and armed robbery around the world between January 1 and August 30, 2012, including 23 successful hijackings. Somali pirates have been responsible for 70 of those incidents, capturing 13 vessels with 212 hostages. They are currently holding 11 vessels and 188 hostages.