Not a single vessel was hijacked this year off the Horn of Africa, where piracy waged by Somalis was once rampant, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence.
It’s the fourth annual decline in Indian Ocean piracy, following a peak of 52 vessels in 2009—the year Richard Phillip’s ship, the Maersk Alabama, was commandeered by Somalis. That hijacking was the subject of a major motion picture this year.
As we noted in May, the disappearance of Somali piracy follows
- an increased presence of international navies in and around the Indian Ocean;
- Kenyan military intervention against al-Shabab strongholds in Somalia;
- and vigilance among vessel owners, who have rerouted and fortified ships to combat piracy threats.
In all of 2013, only nine vessels were attacked by pirates off the Horn of Africa, 4 in the final 2 months of the year. None were successfully hijacked.
Ships on the west coast of Africa were less fortunate in 2013. Pirates there fired on 31 vessels and seized 9 this year in the Gulf of Guinea.