Two pirate attacks in the past week off the Somali coast have raised concerns that the threat of piracy in the Horn of Africa is not over, Seatrade Global reported Wednesday (October 16th).
Last Friday, pirates in two skiffs opened fire on the Hong Kong-flagged crude carrier MV Splendor, the first such incident since April, according to UK-based Dryad Maritime Intelligence. Four days later, the same pirate gang attacked another large vessel 270 nautical miles from the first attack.
"... The attack on two vessels in the space of four days confirms that the Somali pirate business model is not yet broken," said Ian Millen, intelligence director at Dryad.
Millen praised the vigilance and professionalism of the MV Splendor security team's response to the attack, which they successfully rebuffed, and urged other vessels in the area to maintain high security standards.
Nonetheless, piracy at sea is at its lowest level in seven years, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported Thursday. Off the coast of Somalia, there were ten piracy attacks in the first nine months of this year, compared to 70 in the same time period in 2012, the IMB said.
"The vital role of the navies off the coast of Somalia should not be underestimated. Their presence ensures that pirates do not operate with the impunity they did before," said IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan.
"Although the number of attacks is down overall, the threat of attacks remains, particularly in the waters off Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea," he said. "It is vital that ship masters continue to be vigilant as they transit these waters."