Reports received so far this year already equal number of all the cases reported last yearArticle | April 27, 2012 – 10:09am | By Eki Toju

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy report, said 11 reports were received from Nigeria at the beginning of this year.

Some 11 vessels were reported hijacked worldwide, with 212 crew members taken hostage and four crew killed. A further 45 vessels were boarded, with 32 attempted attacks and 14 vessels fired upon – the latter attributed to either Somali or Nigerian pirates.

Noting the increasing problems off West Africa, the report said that 11 reports were received from Nigeria at the beginning of this year, equalling the same number reported for the whole of the area last year. A further attack in neighbouring Benin was also attributed to Nigerian pirates.

These reports include the hijackings of one product and one chemical tanker, resulting in a total of 42 crew members taken hostage.

“Nigerian piracy is increasing in incidence and extending in range,” said Pottengal Mukundan, IMB Piracy Reporting Centre director.

“At least six of the 11 reported incidents in Nigeria occurred at distances greater than 70 nautical miles from the coast, which suggests that fishing vessels are being used as motherships to attack ships further at sea.”

Attacks in Nigerian coastal waters have also resulted in at least three crew kidnapped from their anchored vessel, the report said.

“While the number of reported incidents in Nigeria is still less than Somalia and hijacked vessels are under control of the pirates for days rather than months, the level of violence against crew is dangerously high,” Mukundan warned.

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