Maritime piracy costs 12 billion dollars annually

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The international economy suffers losses amounting to 12 billion US dollars annually due to piracy at sea, an increasing problem especially in the Western Africa coasts.

President of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber Capt Eugen Adami told CNA that piracy is a problem, which not only affects Cyprus, having one of the biggest registry in the world, but it affects all countries.

As regards the Cypriot flagged tanker which pirates seized Wednesday in the waters off Benin, neither Adami nor the Cyprus Department on Merchant Shipping were in a position to give more details. They told CNA that they are in contact with authorities in the region to collect more information.

Adami said that the international economy loses annually 12 billion US dollars as a result of piracy at sea.

According to data from the Cyprus Department on Merchant Shipping, ships on the Cyprus register as on 31 December 2010 reached 1862.

During the first six months of 2011, the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center (PRC) reported a total of 266 pirate attacks worldwide, up from 196 incidents during the same period last year. The report showed more than 60 percent of the attacks the majority of which were in the Arabian Sea, were carried out by Somali pirates,.

The number of current vessels held by Somali pirates reaches 16 with 301 hostages.

In his statements to CNA Adami said that the Cyprus Shipping Chamber will participate in the International Conference on Piracy at Sea that will be held 17-19 October in Malmo, Sweden.

Participants in the three-day conference will exchange views and ideas on the complex web of underlying factors behind the phenomenon of maritime piracy and will examine and review current responses and initiatives. They will also discuss ways whereby industry stakeholders and the many disciplines engaged in maritime research might better work towards an integrated approach to control or eradicate piracy and other violent crimes at sea.

Moreover, between 2-5 October, Cyprus will host the “Maritime Cyprus 2011” Conference. The Conference will take place in the coastal town of Limassol.