Asia regional waters remain piracy hotspot

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 July, 1998, 12:00am

Pirate attacks continue to be a menace in the region this year, according to figures from the International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Of the 86 global attacks reported between January and June this year, 41 occurred in Asia.

The number of attacks fell 26 per cent compared with the same period last year. The IMB warned that the figures could rise because they were sometimes reported 'many months' after incidents took place.

Initially, the total number of attacks last year was given as 229, but this rose to 262 - a 17 per cent increase over 1996.

Responding to this year's figures, the IMB cautioned 'it cannot be concluded that there has been a real reduction in the number of attacks as compared to earlier years'.

Indonesia is the worst for pirate attacks with 18 so far this year. Ten occurred when the ships were anchored.

The Philippines is second with 13 attacks, mostly on fishing vessels in the Moro Gulf and Tingulan Island. The Philippine Navy has increased patrols in the area.