Piracy Alive On The High Seas; Attacks Up Almost 40%

Piracy attacks on commercial shipping rose by nearly 40% last year and almost tripled those for 1991, reports the London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB). IMB recorded 285 separate raids on ships at sea, at anchor, or in ports. Pirates carried guns on 53 occasions and knives were used twice as often as in 1998. The majority of attacks took place in Southeast Asia, and the number in Indonesian waters almost doubled the 1998 figure. A decline in seafarers killed by pirates was registered following successes by China and India in arresting ship hijackers. "Modern piracy is all the more fearsome because the victims are alone and defenseless," says Capt. Jayant Abhyankar, IMB deputy director. To counter the raiders, IMB is now using the Internet for updates of attacks and warnings with status bulletins broadcast via satellite. Posting the information on the Internet enables vessels at sea, shipowners, and law maintenance organizations to access the latest information. The address for this Web report is www.icc-ccs.org. IMB's newly published annual report on piracy can be obtained from the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau, Maritime House, 1 Linton Road, Barking, Essex IG11 8HG, UK. E-mail: [email protected]

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