Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pirate Wednesday - Maritime Bureau Report

So last week I mentioned a site I found from the International Chamber of Commerce Commercial Crime Services on piracy. I looked around their site a bit more. This is cool, they've got weekly piracy reports, daily alerts, a Google map showing all the latest worldwide acts of piracy, and a cool logo.

They also have a link where you can request a full piracy report from a recent year. You give them your email and they send you a big pdf. I just got the report for Jan-Sept 2007 in my inbox yesterday. Let's have a look.

There's an introduction describing the organization and the report, and some contact information given. If you'd like to help the pirates, you can do your part by flooding the anti-piracy helpline (++60 3 2031 0014) with prank calls. For statistical purposes, they define piracy as

An act of boarding or attempting to board any ship with the apparent intent to commit theft or any other crime and with the apparent intent or capability to use force in the furtherance of that act.
There's a long list of funders (traitors!) and then the report itself. This year so fa there have been 198 acts of piracy reported. The numbers (taken at the same time of year) for the past four years are 344, 251, 205, and 174. Clearly piracy is on a fast global decline, with a slight rise in the past year. This of course only confirms what Pastafarians have known for quite some time. Of these 198 attacks, 121 have been committed in 6 particularly piratey countries: Indonesia (37), Somalia (26), Nigeria (26), Bangladesh (13) Gulf of Aden/Red Sea (10) and Tanzania (9). Depending on your life goals, you'd probably want to either avoid or move to these locations. There were 132 actual attacks on ships, and 66 attempted attacks. What really struck me was that in virtually every case the pirates got away. The report specifically thanks the coast guard for catching one group of pirates, but other than that I can't find a single instance where the pirates didn't get away scot free.

The report contains a few more tables and charts listing the data in various other ways, but nothing too interesting. Then it has some ads for anti-piracy products (there's an electric fence you can buy that goes around your whole ship to prevent boarding) and some news reports about increased Somalian piracy, and then a more detailed narration of each individual attack. I haven't read them all fully, but none stand out as particularly cool. Certainly nothing like the stories from past Pirate Wednesdays. The report ends with some maps showing the locations of attacks. Not surprisingly, the vast majority were in east Africa and Indonesia.

I'm going to stay on top of the weekly reports and write about anything good that comes up, but for the most part, look forward to a return to harrowing tales of classical piracy on the high seas.
Next week: Blackbeard!


Dave Foree said...

I'm curious: Is there any indication of how many separate groups of pirates actually carry out the attacks each year?

Because, ya know, if it's just a couple of unbeatable dudes with eye patches, I'll seriously think about growing a beard and moving to Indonesia...

Jolly Bloger said...

I was actually quite curious about that myself. It doesn't say anywhere in the report how many independent groups they think there are in each area. It looks like the crews can be fairly large though, and many are in some way working together in an organization. The one crew that was captured had 14 members, and there are many reports of large "mother ships" being used to deploy smaller individual crews from far off shore to extend the range of the pirates, and decrease their chances of being caught. I bet there is some fascinating politics and economics going on. I would guess it isn't terribly different from drug dealers or mafia organizations.