The global shipping industry has agreed to declassify the Indian Ocean coastline off Somalia as a “high-risk area” after years of successful counterpiracy operations.
The change was approved by marine groups including the International Chamber of Shipping and will be operational from January 2023, they said in a statement on Monday
“No piracy attacks against merchant ships have occurred off Somalia since 2018,” according to the statement.
For more than a decade, pirates from Somalia launched hundreds of attacks on commercial vessels in East African waters, in some cases earning millions of dollars in ransom money and forcing shipping companies to adopt security measures such as employing armed guards and installing barbed wire. The dangers were depicted in the 2013 Oscar-nominated movie Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks.
International navies and an EU antipiracy task force have in recent years managed to crack down on pirates by patrolling waters with warships and using satellite imagery. The seas off West Africa have become more dangerous, with piracy having surged there over the past decade.
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