ISAF once again represented the interests of the Sailing Community at the recently held MSC meeting at IMO headquarters in London.
Although the agenda dealt mainly with commercial vessels, the subject of piracy and armed robbery against ships was once again reported upon.
Once again, the IMO reported an increase in the number of piracy attacks, which between 2001 and 2002 has risen by 4% to 383 individual attacks. The MSC observed that this increase is still a very worrying development and much more was needed to be done to reduce this menace.
From the reports collected by the IMO, areas that were most affected were the Far East, with the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait being highlighted as very dangerous. Other areas such as South America and the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and East Africa were also acknowledged as dangerous. It was noted that most of the attacks occurred or were attempted within the concerned States' territorial waters while the ships were at anchor or berthed.
The MSC also noted that there was a significant increase in the use of violence where ships crews had been attacked by five to ten people carrying knives or guns. As a result of these attacks, six sailors were killed, fifty had been wounded and thirty eight had been reported missing with a further thirty eight thrown overboard (although later rescued).
ISAF is very keen for any reports of piracy or armed robbery attacks be reported to the ISAF Secretariat PIRACY REPORT
who can pass the details on to the relevant authorities. Only with this information can ISAF keep on reminding the IMO that small ships are major victims of such attacks.