pirati, brod, pirate ship.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Tommie Hansen, used under CC BY

Pirates moved away from taking ships and crew members hostage in 2015, favouring instead swift attacks to rob vessels of removable goods, an anti-piracy watch group said Tuesday.

Hijacking of ships declined to 15 incidents in 2015, compared with 21 the previous year, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which has a reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur.

The number of crew held on their ships were 271, down from 442 in 2014.

But the overall number of attacks was at 246, one incident higher than the 245 attacks reported the year before, it said.

In 203 of those, pirates boarded the vessels, robbing them of goods and valuables and fleeing without holding the crews hostage.

The IMB added there were also 27 failed boarding attempts and one incident where a ship was fired upon by pirates before escaping.

In South-East Asia, one of the global piracy hotspots, attacks on small fuel tankers fell significantly, with the last one recorded in August 2015, the agency said.

“IMB particularly commends the robust actions taken by the Indonesian and Malaysian authorities in the arrest and prosecution of two gangs that hijacked tankers,” its director Pottengal Mukundan said. 

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