/ 17 April 2008

Nigeria named number-one piracy hot spot

An international piracy watchdog on Thursday announced an increase in pirate attacks in global waters and warned seafarers of increasing, violence especially in waters off Nigeria.

The London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said that worldwide piracy attacks jumped to 49 incidents from January to March, from 41 recorded in the same period of 2007.

A total of 36 vessels were boarded and one vessel hijacked, while seven crew members were taken hostage, six kidnapped, three killed and one missing and presumed dead, the IMB said in its quarterly report released in Kuala Lumpur.

The IMB also warned that there was an increase in violent attacks, especially in waters off Nigeria.

Nigeria ranked as the number-one hot spot, accounting for just more than 20% of the total number of attacks with 10 incidents reported.

The report noted that vessels had been fired upon and crew members injured.

”It is essential that the serious incidents are carefully analysed and the lessons learnt made available to all owners and their advisers who fall victim to serious attacks,” said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan.

India and the Gulf of Aden shared second place with five reported incidents each. The incidents in India were low-level attacks aimed at theft from the vessel, the IMB said. — Sapa-dpa