Piracy on the world's seas reached a five-year low last year, with 297 ships attacked, compared with 439 in 2011, according to a global piracy report by the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau.
Worldwide figures fell because of a huge reduction in Somali piracy, although East and West Africa remain the worst-hit areas with 150 attacks in 2012.
Globally, 174 ships were boarded by pirates last year, 28 were hijacked and 28 were fired upon. The bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center also recorded 67 attempted attacks. The number of people taken hostage on board fell to 585 from 802 in 2011. An additional 26 were kidnapped for ransom in Nigeria. Six crewmembers were killed and 32 were injured or assaulted.
“IMB’s piracy figures show a welcome reduction in hijackings and attacks to ships. But crews must remain vigilant, particularly in the highly dangerous waters off East and West Africa,” bureau director Capt. Pottengal Mukundan said in a statement.
The bureau, which has monitored piracy worldwide since 1991, offers the latest piracy reports free. To request a PDF version of the report by email, visit the ICC IMB Piracy Centre. The latest attacks also can be seen on the IMB Live Piracy Map.
More significantly for recreational cruisers, the report reveals that for the first time in many years no attacks by pirates on private yachts were reported anywhere in the world. Nine yachts were attacked in 2008, six in 2009, one in 2010 and four in 2011.
“Either the pirates have finally realized yachts are measly pickings or the campaign to prevent yachts from sailing in dangerous areas has worked, and maybe a bit of both,” said a report on the findings by Sail-World.com.