International Piracy costs $12bn per year, threatens climate change research says experts

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in Singapore has issued a warning on all ships cruising through the South China Sea  bordering Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore following the hijack of three tugboats and a barge late last May.

IMB piracy reporting chief Noel Choong said alerts have been sent to ships in the area amid a sudden rash of hijackings. “We are sending out this alert as these are the first three hijackings of vessels in the South China Sea this year,” he said. “Normally, pirates in the area are opportunistic as they rob a ship and flee but the hijacking of a vessel requires planning so, we believe a syndicate is involved,” Choong added. “As most bigger ships have transmitters on board that help authorities locate them, we believe that pirates in the area are hijacking tugboats which are small and so are not required to have such transmitters,” he said.
Attacks on the world’s seas are soaring as armed and dangerous pirates become increasingly emboldened, seizing more ships than before and taking even bigger risks, an international body said. In the first six months of 2011, there were 266 piracy attacks compared with 196 incidents over the same period last year, and 60 percent of them were carried out by Somali pirates, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said.  The report from the London-based IMB also said it was vital international forces off the east coast of Africa be kept in place and even boosted. IMB says the seas around Nigeria are more dangerous than the official reports suggest, and that it was aware of at least 11 other incidents that had not been reported.;_ylc=X3oDMTU4czVvMThyBF9TAzIwMjMxNTI3MDIEYXBwaWQDd3ZHZEFPM1YzNEdHQ3paNG0yQXYzYnFVeG5KaWM0YnJFTDNpaVc1aW05MWhvQUpqbW1UTGVrWTBJM09sZ1owLQRjbGllbnQDYm9zcwRzZXJ2aWNlA0JPU1MEc2xrA3RpdGxlBHNyY3B2aWQDRk9POC5FZ2VBdTNvWkM3dzRDbUMzUlplVWlBcEIwNGtMMUVBQ1dYSw
An international group for seafarers’ concerns said the total costs of seafarer piracy in 2010 range from $7 to $12 billion. The One Earth Future Foundation’s (OEF) Oceans Beyond Piracy project did the estimates, with insurance premiums topping the list of costs in the range of $460 million to $3.2 billion. War risk and kidnap-and-ransom types of insurance made up the most significant premiums that shipowners purchase, especially if ships pass through the Gulf of Aden. OEF’s estimate for insurance was calculated by getting a low-bound estimates (of 10 percent of ships purchasing these insurance premiums) and an upper-bound estimates (70 percent of ships). The re-routing of ships provided the next highest excess costs of seafarer piracy at $2.4 to $3 billion — especially for low and slow-moving ships that were remarked to be avoiding risk zones (especially the Gulf of Aden) as a “safer or cheaper option,” OEF wrote. Purchasing security equipment cost an excess of $363 million to $2.5 billion, as ship owners prepare their ships with security equipment and having guards prior to transiting to a high-risk zone.
Piracy Preventing Monsoon and U.S. Rainfall Research – Piracy is stopping oceanographers and meteorologists from collecting data vital to understanding the Indian monsoon and rainfall patterns in the United States, researchers say. As a result, a long-running collection of wind data in the Indian Ocean now has a giant gap, says meteorologist Shawn Smith of Florida State University in Tallahassee. And a project aiming to install an array of buoys in the Indian Ocean is likely to remain unfinished. Meteorologists have long tracked the Somali low-level jet, also called the East African jet–a wind pattern that blows from the coast of Africa northeast across the Arabian Sea to India in summer. “It’s the primary source of moisture coming in to drive their summer monsoon,” says Smith. Earth-based wind data in this area come from merchant ships that take weather measurements as a matter of course. A map of ship reports from August 2008 reveals a steady stream of traffic along the Somali coast, right through the core of the Somali jet. But in August 2009, an area of about 2.5 million square kilometers is completely barren of observations thanks to ships moving to a recommended distance of more than 1,100 km offshore to avoid the pirates. ” Annual forecasts of the Indian monsoon are unlikely to be affected, scientists say, because there are alternative satellite data sources for that. But long-term studies of these climate systems will be affected. “A ‘data hole’ in such a dynamically important region is a big deal,” says Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, who studies climate systems in the tropical Pacific.

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