International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) annual piracy report has revealed that piracy at sea has dropped to its lowest level in eight years, a 44% fall since Somali piracy peaked in 2011.
According to the report, almost 245 incidents were recorded worldwide last year with 11 attacks carried out by Somali pirates.
Pirates hijacked 21 vessels, boarded 183 and 13 were fired upon. Four crewmembers were killed by pirates and 13 were injured, while nine people were kidnapped from their vessels.
In contrast, attacks against small tankers off South East Asia’s coasts increased last year, recording up to 21 incidents compared with 12 in 2013.
IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said: "The global increase in hijackings is due to a rise in attacks against coastal tankers in South East Asia.
"Gangs of armed thieves have attacked small tankers in the region for their cargoes, many looking specifically for marine diesel and gas oil to steal and then sell."
Meanwhile, the UK Chamber of Shipping warned that the increase of piracy attacks both off West Africa and in South East Asia should not be sidelined in the wake of this progress.
UK Chamber CEO Guy Platten said: "This new form of maritime criminality, which often has links to shore-based oil theft, is taking place within the jurisdictions of functioning nation-states, but ones that pay little attention to maritime security and governance.
"Put simply, these regions have become a breeding ground for future pirates."
Image: A 44% drop in piracy attacks was recorded last year. Photo: courtesy of EU.