GLOBAL piracy is at its lowest levels in the first quarter since 2007 at 49 piracy incidents in which two vessels were hijacked, 37 vessels boarded, five vessels fired upon and five attempted attacks were reported.
According to the latest International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Report, 46 crewmembers were taken hostage and two kidnapped from their vessel.
Somalia remained at the same number of incidents of first quarter 2013. Of the five reported, three were attempted hijacks and two were vessels fired upon. In an incident in January, a skiff launched from a mother vessel fired upon a Panamax sized product tanker 115 nautical miles south of Salalah, Oman.
The attack was repelled and the international navies subsequently intercepted the mother ship - an Indian dhow which itself had been hijacked a few days previously.
Eleven Indian crewmembers were freed and five suspected pirates apprehended.
West Africa reported 12 incidents which included two vessel hijacks with 39 crew taken hostage and two crew kidnapped from their vessel.
Nigeria accounts for six incidents including the hijacking of a supply vessel, which was used unsuccessfully to hunt for other potential vessels to hijack, reported GAC Hot Port News.
Angola saw its first reported hijacking in the first quarter, demonstrating the increased range and capability of Nigerian piracy if left unchecked. The incident involved armed pirates boarding and hijacking a loaded tanker from Luanda anchorage.
The pirates stole a large quantity of the tanker's gas oil cargo in three separate STS operations. The vessel was under the control of suspected Nigerian pirates for over a week before the owner regained contact, off Nigeria, 1,200 nautical miles from the initial boarding. One crewman was injured during the incident.
Indonesia ranks as the country with the highest number of attacks with 18 reports compared with 25 in the first quarter of 2013. In all incidents, vessels were boarded. Although many of these were low level thefts, seven crew members were taken hostage in five incidents, while in four incidents the pirates possessed firearms.
The Indonesian Marine Police launched regular patrols of the higher risk anchorages in an effort to bring down the number of incidents, said the report.
Source : HKSG.