First Full Month Without Pirate Attacks Since ’07

The surge in Somali pirate attacks has been wiped out completely based on the figures for this month, which has been the first full month without pirate attacks since 2007, The Telegraph writes.

Based on the data released by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the last attempted boarding and firing upon a ship has been recorded on June 26 amid an attack on a Maltese-flagged vessel.

Speaking in numbers, in the first half of 2012 the number of Somali pirate attacks equalled to 69, a 32% fall in comparison to the same period in the previous year.

Aside to the unfavourable monsoon period which tends to reduce number of attacks, such results have been also attributed to the strenuous efforts of international maritime forces, including that of the NATO, EUNAVFOR, Russian, Chinese and Indian navies which have been intensively engaged in patrolling the waters off the Horn of Africa.

However, judging by the claims of pirate experts it is not the warships that pirates are threatened by the most, but the private armed security contractors, who have had a perfect score in fending off incidents.

“We’ve learnt a lot about piracy and we’re being a great deal more proactive in disrupting their activities,” said Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, operational commander of the EU’s antipiracy mission, Operation Atalanta.

Even though the threat has been subdued and the seafarers feel more confident having undergone training in evading and reacting during attacks, it is still too early to celebrate because the problem is not resolved in its root, having in mind that piracy remains one of the best ways to earn a living in Somalia.

As explained by Rear Adm Potts “all of this tactical and operational progress is however easily lost if we do not irreversibly change the strategic context on the ground that allows piracy to exist in the first place.”

Therefore, the international maritime community should not lower its guard yet, but seek ways of providing a comprehensive solution to this issue.

Naval Today Staff, August 10, 2012

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