Maritime Board Notes Rise in Piracy

January 28, 2004

A new report, compiled by the International Maritime Board, found a 20 percent rise in the number of attacks by pirates in 2003. Violence involved in the incidents is on the rise as well.

As reported by the BBC, the study found that more than 20 sailors had been killed in such attacks, which mainly occur in Southeast Asia. The Board, which is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, singled out Indonesian and Bangladeshi waters as the most dangerous, with frequent incidents also occurring in waters adjacent to Nigeria, Vietnam and India.

The report also highlighted some additional worrisome trends. Ships are now less likely to be attacked for their cargoes, as for the possibility of holding their crews and the vessel for ransom. Militant groups may be involved in these incidents.

In addition the Board noted that oil tankers had become a “common target,” causing concern not only that oil supplies could be disrupted, but also posing the threat of a terrorist group using one of the giant bulk carriers as a floating bomb to attack a city.

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