There is a great piece in today’s Telegraph magazine on the rise of piracy and kidnapping off the coast of Somalia. 

It states that:

  • Piracy and kidnapping have risen: International Maritime Bureau statistics show that in 2006 there were 10 attacks (5 success hijacks) but by 2008 there were 111 attacks and 42 hijacks. In 2010 there were 219 attacks and 49 ships were hijacked.  
  • Concerted efforts are having an impact: there were just 25 successful hijacks. The British Royal Navy estimates that 30 per cent of the vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden have armed security on board, and no ships with armed guards have yet been successfully attacked. 
  • In 2012 so far there have been 4 ships hijacked and Somali pirates are currently holding 8 ships and 200 hostages. 
  • Piracy is a lucrative business: according to Oceans Beyond Piracy, the shipping industry paid Somali pirates $160 million in ransoms in 2011, with the average being $5 million. 
  • However, piracy is also costly for those involved: it has been estimated that it costs $25,000 to equip a pirate boat, which means it is now a well organised business on the whole. 
  • About 2.7 million square miles of Indian Ocean are vulnerable to pirates. With the number of vessels patrolling to protect the area, it is the equivalent of having 10 police cars monitoring the whole of Western Europe. 
  • The most notable British cases in recent years involving these pirate groups are Judith Tebbutt who was taken from Kenya and released in March 2012 and Paul and Rachel Chandler who were taken in October 2009 and held for 388 days.