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Report: Nigeria sees nearly one pirate attack a week

(CNN)Crime on the high seas has nearly halved in the last five years but there is one region bucking that trend.

Pirate attacks off Nigeria are seeing a resurgence, at a rate of nearly one a week in the past three months, new numbers show.

A report released Wednesday from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a non-profit devoted to fighting maritime crime, said "these attacks are increasing in frequency with no signs of stopping."

"Reports in the last quarter indicate unacceptable violence against ships and crews in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly around Nigeria. The current increase in kidnappings is a cause for great concern," said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan.

Usually the attacks are hijackings or kidnapping of crew members for ransom, or are robberies to steal gas or oil.

Nigerian navy recovers hijacked oil tanker after gun battle

In the first three months of this year, Nigeria has seen 10 incidents compared to 6 and 7 attacks in the corresponding periods of 2014 and 2015.

Besides presenting a huge physical danger to crews, piracy can be incredibly costly to an economy.

The number of reported attacks Nigeria has seen this year is on track to meet 2012 numbers, a year that aChatham House report estimated it would cost the Nigerian government $1 billion a month in lost revenues -- a result of the estimated 400,000 barrels of oil stolen each day.

High risk waters

Globally, IMB received 37 reports of actual and attempted pirate attacks from January to March. That's down compared to the 54 reports received for the first three months last year, though the center noted there could be a time lag in reporting so more incidents could come to light.

Overall, there were 246 attacks last year, down sharply from the 439 attacks recorded in 2011.

Three regions made up for two thirds of the total 37 reported incidents: Nigeria (10), India (10), and Indonesia (4).

The IMB stated however that the incidents in India tend to be low-level thefts mostly targeting anchored vessels.

Source : http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/28/africa/nigeria-pirates-growing/index.html

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