‘Sharp rise in piracy, yachts are vulnerable’
Maritime crime is rising in several regions around the world, according to a maritime securituy company. In a quarterly report on global maritime security, MAST has found that incidents of piracy and marine crime have risen sharply around the world.
Areas particularly affected include Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as the western Indian Ocean, western Africa and parts of South America.
In the first quarter of 2017 there were 48 incidents of maritime crime, 17 of which were in the South China Seas. This has been exacerbated by international tension around China’s approach to the Spratly Islands and the USA’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the company said. In other areas, famine, poverty and political instability have all contributed to rising in maritime crime.
Gerry Northwood, chief operating officer of MAST and former Royal Navy counterpiracy commander, said: ‘It is clear is that the maritime environment is linked to global events and not immune to crime and terrorism in their many forms. The military is configured to protect commercial shipping rather than ‘discretionary activity’ in high risk areas. Sailors must be responsible for their own safety and should think very carefully before sailing.
‘This is a spike in activity, rather than a sustained return to piracy. No yachts have been attacked recently, but most yachts crossing the north Indian Ocean do so with armed security teams on board.’
Pirates are once again increasing their activity in the Indian Ocean and Indonesia