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IMB reports: Zero pirate attacks against yachts this year

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 22, 2010 07:54 PM

Published: 2010-07-22 19:54:03
Topics: Piracy Reports 2010

As reported by

According to the International Maritime Bureau(IMB), a non-profit organisation which acts as a focal point for the global war against piracy, and reports regularly on pirate attacks and attempted attacks against ships, no piracy against yachts has been recorded in the first half of 2010.

Two British cruising sailors, Paul and Rachel Chandler, kidnapped in 2009 along with 595 other seamen, are however still held hostage owing to the non-payment of a ransom demand.

This is the first time since 2005 that there have been no piracy attacks recorded. There were four recorded attacks in same period in 2005, eight in 2006, four in 2007, two in 2008, and four in 2009. Still the highest areas for piracy were in the waters extending from the country of Somalia, although since the corridor which was once known as "pirate alley" has been more strictly controlled, piracy is extending into the Red Sea itself, with fourteen attacks against ships in the first half of this year.

With the approach of the Monsoon season and unseasonable weather, it is expected that pirate attacks will decline or disappear until the Monsoon is over.

The stand-out change in the last few years is that of Yemen. Once the waters of Yemen were also dangerous, as opportunist fishermen turned pirate when circumstances presented themselves. However, beginning in 2007, Yemen joined the party of nations attempting to stamp out piracy, and set up three anti-pirate coordination centres along the Yemeni coastline.

The Yemeni state security court, according to the IMO, has also sentenced six Somali pirates to death and six others to 10 years in jail for attacking two Yemeni oil tankers in which two Yemeni military personnel were killed and one declared missing at sea. The Yemeni Naval Forces captured the 12 pirates during a rrescue operation after the pirates seized an oil tanker and attempted to take over another vessel sailing in the Arabian Sea.

These days transiting yachts are most likely to travel within 15 miles of the Yemeni shores, under the hoped-for protection of the Yemeni Coastguard. According to yacht agent Mohammed, based in Salalah in Oman, up to 200 yachts are transiting each year. Most yachts gather in Salalah to form convoys for the transit. This is in spite of all authorities, including the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), warning all yachts to stay clear of the area.

While attacks by Somali pirates from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea account for more than half of attacks world-wide, other areas most prone to attack are the South China Sea, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia, which were included in the top seven areas by the IMO.