US Med Voice

US Med


Vol. 3, No. 9 | September 2011




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Trouble on the Bridge
Piracy: An Old Problem in New Times


US MED Gives BackPeaceful oceans have become dangerous highways. For the international merchant marine fleet carrying cargo and passengers, an old threat is now a new reality: Piracy.


Between February 2010 and February 2011, there were 286 piracy-related incidents off the coast of Somalia, resulting in 67 hijacked ships, with 1,130 mariners onboard. Currently, over 750 are being held for ransom.


According to an April 2011 report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 142 pirate attacks occurred worldwide during the first three months of 2011.


International efforts to halt the scourge of the seas have not slowed the attacks. According to International Maritime Organization Secretary-General Mitropoulos. "We need to assess what is working, what is missing, and what needs to be improved. Although piracy mainfests itself at sea, the roots of the problem are to be found ashore."


Ransom payments in 2010 totaled $238 million, creating a "pirate economy." The average pirate makes more money from one attack than he could earn from years of fishing.


World Maritime Day, September 22, places emphasis on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment. Its goal is to attract public, private, and government bodies to the many concerns within the maritime community. It was first observed in 1978 by 21 member states; now 167 member states and three associate members participate.



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