October 22, 2012 - 17:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Somali pirate attacks fell to their lowest in three years in the first nine months of 2012 as tougher navy action and private armed security teams deterred gangs, a maritime watchdog said, according to Reuters.
Last year, Somali piracy in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and the northwestern Indian Ocean netted $160 million, and cost the world economy some $7 billion, according to the American One Earth Future foundation.
In the January to September period, attacks involving Somali pirates fell to 70 compared with 199 incidents in the first nine months of last year and was at its lowest since 2009, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Monday, Oct 22.
Only one ship was targeted by pirates in the third quarter of 2012, the IMB said, adding that piracy off West Africa was increasing however.
"We welcome the successful robust targeting of pirate action groups by international navies in the high risk waters off Somalia, ensuring these criminals are removed before they can threaten ships," IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said. "It's good news that hijackings are down, but there can be no room for complacency: these waters are still extremely high-risk and the naval presence must be maintained."
International navies have stepped up pre-emptive action against pirates, including strikes on their bases on the Somali coast, and shipping firms are increasingly using armed guards and other measures such as heightened watches and razor wire.
The IMB said the slide in Somali pirate attacks had driven overall global pirate attacks down to 233 incidents, compared with 352 last year with incidents at their lowest since 2008 when there were 199 reported, it said