Bloomberg News

Somali Pirate Hijackings Increase to 15-Month High, AKE Says

by Michelle Wiese Bockmann

Four of the seized craft were used to make more attacks, rather than being held for ransom, Rory Lamrock, piracy analyst at the Hereford, England-based security and risk-assessment company, said in an e-mailed report today.

“Pirate syndicates will be emboldened by the latest hijackings, spurring them on to conduct more attacks over the coming weeks,” Lamrock said. “Weather conditions are also forecast to be relatively calm in April, which will make it easier for pirates to launch skiffs and gain access to the deck of a targeted vessel.”

Somali pirate attacks rose to a record 237 in 2011, with ransoms worth $160 million paid to release 31 hijacked vessels, a One Earth Future Foundation report released Feb. 8 showed. Pirates based in Somalia cost governments and the shipping industry as much as $6.9 billion last year, One Earth estimates.

Pirates are holding 13 vessels with 197 hostages, according to the London-based International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre.

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