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Piracy

Pirates of the Caribbean

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By William Lusk

Program Manager,
O.C.E.A.N.S. LLC*

  

William Lusk shines a light on the threat of maritime piracy and armed robbery in the Caribbean

It’s no secret that shipping and port authorities across the Caribbean are constantly faced by threats to their safety and security, ranging from hurricanes and oil spills to theft and smuggling. Two such issues, long regarded as mere anachronisms, are maritime piracy and armed robbery. Although rare in occurrence, the threat is very real. On 16 August 2015 an officer on routine rounds on board an anchored general cargo ship near Barcelona, Venezuela, noticed three store rooms opened and their padlocks broken. According to a report published by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a non-governmental organization which runs a global piracy reporting center, he immediately raised the alarm and the crew mustered. It was noticed that the robbers had boarded the ship via the anchor chain, stolen ship’s properties and escaped.

Another day, 12 May this year, yielded a similar situation at a nearby anchorage close to Barcelona. Four robbers armed with steel pipes boarded an LPG tanker at an anchorage off Barcelona. The crew on routine rounds spotted the robbers and raised the alarm. Seeing the alerted crew, the robbers escaped. A search was carried out by the crew and the ship’s stores were reported stolen.

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