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Piracy Plagues Indian Ocean

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Attacks by Somali pirates went up by 10 percent last year, with the International Maritime Bureau recording 445 incidents. An Oceans Beyond Piracy study estimated that this resulted in more than $12 billion in losses.

“While US and European navies continue to patrol shipping lanes off the Somali coast, there has been no letup in pirate attacks, and pirates, if anything, appear to be becoming even more effective at capturing ships,” Christian Science Monitor reported.

According to United Press International, anti-piracy efforts have broadened.

“International attention is increasingly turning to attempting to uncover and block the pirates’ international allies, from other East African ports that covertly allow the pirates to use their facilities as staging bases to the shadowy financial middlemen that process the pirates’ ransom proceeds after they are paid through intermediaries.”

Describing the magnitude of a recent attack, the managing director of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners told CNN, “The hijacking by pirates of 2 million barrels of Kuwaiti crude oil destined for the U.S. in a large Greek tanker in the middle of the main sea lanes coming from the Middle East Gulf marks a significant shift in the impact of the piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean.”

He added, “If piracy in the Indian Ocean is left unabated, it will strangle these crucial shipping lanes with the potential to severely disrupt oil flows to the U.S. and to the rest of the world.”

CNN reported that the pirates’ success in stealing $260 million worth of cargo in two days “has stoked new concern about the world’s inability to halt the threat of Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean.”


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