Piracy incidents dropped sharply in the first quarter of this year, but 50% of the attacks were from locations in Nigeria and Indonesia, while tankers bore the brunt of the attacks, the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center said Monday.
There were 66 incidents of piracy and armed robberies against ships reported over January-March this year, compared with 102 such incidents in the same period last year, according to the latest quarterly report on piracy and armed robbery against ships by the IMB.
Nearly half of the attacks reported during the first quarter of this year were against tankers, with 28 incidents recorded followed by bulk carriers with 16 cases.
The report found the Gulf of Guinea as a key area of concern with 15 incidents recorded in that region.
Nigeria accounted for 11 incidents in the region, which included the use of guns on merchant ships in at least nine attacks. In one of the attacks that took place at the Lagos anchorage, a crew member belonging to a chemical tanker was shot dead, the report said.
Outside African waters, Indonesia recorded the highest number of attacks with 25 incidents, which were mainly low level thefts. Most of the incidents involved vessels anchored at ports such as Dumai, Balikpapan and Belawan -- which have key oil loading terminals.
The regions around Somalia and the Gulf of Aden recorded five incidents during the first quarter of this year.
"Although the number of acts of piracy reported in Somalia has significantly decreased, there can be no room for complacency. The drop in reported attacks is due to proactive naval actions against suspect Pirate Action Groups, the employment of privately contracted armed security personnel and preventive measures used by the merchant vessels," IMB Director Pottengal Mukudan said in the report.
"The attacks will rise to past levels if the naval presence is reduced or vessels relax their vigilance," he added.