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Piracy in SE Asian waters rises; attacks off Somalia fall sharply

/ 01:42 AM May 13, 2016
piracy VOA

VOA GRAPHIC

SAN FRANCISCO – Southeast Asia is rising as the new epicenter for ocean piracy, according to a new report.

Attacks on shipping by pirates in Southeast Asia are on the rise and the region is now responsible for about 60 percent of worldwide attacks, according to an Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty piracy study, as reported by Hellenic Shipping News.

Vietnam’s waters are the most dangerous in Southeast Asia, according to The Allianz report, accounting for 147 or 55 percent of attacks last year, up from 37 percent in the previous year.

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The southern port of Vung Tau in Vietnam was the site of more than half of the hijackings that took place in 2015.

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Piracy along Indonesia’s sea border with the Philippines is another concern, with Indonesian authorities said to be worried that pirate attacks could reach recorded Somalian levels.

While sea piracy in Southeast Asia has risen, as attacks off Africa’s east coast, long considered the hub of global piracy, have fallen sharply as ships moving through the area have stepped up their defenses.

And while pirates off the coast of Somalia often held vessel crews for ransom, Asian pirates tend to hijack ships to rob oil from slow-moving tankers, while usually leaving workers unharmed. The stolen oil is sold on the black market.

An Allianz Global manager said pirates are using hi-tech software to hack information on cargoes and movements of vulnerable ships.

Australian vessels are reportedly especially at risk because of heavy shipping traffic from Australian ports through the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca.

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TAGS: Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty piracy study, attacks on shipping, Hellenic Shipping News, ocean piracy off Somalia, ocean piracy Southeast Asia
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