In a bit of good news, incidents of sea piracy are down dramatically this year. Several areas once hotbeds for murder and robbery on the high seas
have seen remarkable drops in fatalities and injuries. There have been no deaths from piracy this year, compared to 30 by the same time last year.
Somalia and Iraq are the only two countries that saw an increase in the number of incidents this year.
Globally, 127 vessels were attacked from January to June, a 30 percent drop from 182 cases in the same period last year, the International Maritime
Bureau said in a report released by its piracy watch center in Kuala Lumpur.
It was the lowest first-half figure since 1999, the British-based bureau reported.
Several countries reported fewer attacks, including Indonesia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Ghana, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Brazil,
Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
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This is excellent news for sailors, for a while there the problem of piracy was reaching epidemic proportions. One of the biggest dangers to
commercial ships and pleasure yachts alike is the threat of pirates. The word pirate invokes an image of a one-eyed man in grungey lace, with a
parrot on his shoulder. On the contrary, modern pirates are nothing to trifle with.
They are often well armed, utilize stealth and the cover of darkness to get aboard your ship. They use both guns and knives to equal effect, and will
often elect to take the passengers ransom if there isn't a sufficient haul on board. One nagging problem with pirates is the numbers of them that
often show up all at once, it can be a veritable swarm. It may be easy enough to fight off one or two, but what are your options when a dozen of the
buggers appear on deck at the same time?
Anyone travelling in pirate infested waters, such as SE Asia and Africa, is cautioned to be alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. I
would reccomend never sailing alone, and post a watch if possible when sleeping. Never approach a strange vessel if you can avoid it, and if you can,
keep some form of protection on your boat, be it bat or sword. Guns are discouraged because if you're going to be travelling to a few different
countries, local laws may not permit you to have firearms.
[edit on 24-7-2005 by asala]