Pirate attacks hit 10-year high worldwide

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Pirate attacks hit 10-year high worldwide 2.44 p.m. ET (1959 GMT) November 1, 2000 By Sean Yoong, Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) B Pirate attacks have soared to a 10-year high across the globe, with Indonesia's waterways the riskiest of all, a maritime monitoring group said Wednesday.

Authorities recorded 294 pirate attacks worldwide from January to September of this year, up from 180 in the same period last year, the International Maritime Bureau said in its quarterly piracy survey.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago with 13,000 islands, suffered 90 attacks by pirates this year, up from 66 in 1999 and 31 in 1998.

"Indonesia remains the most piracy-prone country in the world,'' the Kuala Lumpur-based group said.

In the most recent attack Sept. 25, about 15 pirates hijacked a Malaysian tanker near Indonesia's remote Natuna Island in the South China Sea, holding the crew captive for a day and siphoning 2,808 tons of fuel.

The Straits of Malacca, which separate peninsular Malaysia from Indonesia's Sumatra island, suffered 32 attacks this year, compared to none last year and one in 1998.

Most pirates in the narrow sea channel easily elude authorities using sophisticated communications devices and by slipping into numerous island hide-outs, the bureau said. Pirates' boats also are hard to distinguish from the hundreds of small ships in the straits, it said.

Bangladesh, Ecuador, India and the southern tip of the Red Sea also experienced "a sudden rise'' in piracy, with 32 attacks in Bangladesh since January, compared with seven last year. India saw 23 attacks this year, compared to two cases in the first nine month of 1999.

Piracy was also on the rise in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Peru and Angola, but attacks dropped in Venezuela, Nigeria and Somalia.

Six ships have been hijacked so far this year. One vessel in Greece remains missing, the bureau said.

One crew member has been killed and 16 others injured. Most of the ships were anchored during the raids.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), November 01, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ