Maritime piracy incidents fall

Oct 18 2019

In the first nine months of this year, fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were recorded than the corresponding period of 2018.

Some 119 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018, the organisation said.

These incidents included 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.

The Gulf of Guinea remained a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery. This region accounted for 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.

“Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB. “It is important that Masters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted, and suspected incidents to ensure that an accurate picture of these attacks emerge and action is taken against these criminals before the incidents further escalate.”

Meanwhile, Indonesia reported a decline in overall piracy related incidents with 20 actual and attempted attacks for the first nine months of 2019.

Over the past five years, Indonesia has gradually reduced its share of piracy related incidents.

Somalia recorded no piracy-related incidents for the first nine months of this year. However, Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean.

As a result, the IMB PRC advised shipowners to remain cautious when transiting these waters.

In Asia, ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre reported a 16% decrease with 54 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships - comprising 49 actual incidents and five attempted incidents in the region recorded during January-September, 2019, compared to 64 in the corresponding period of 2018.. 

Of the 54 incidents reported thus far this year, two involved piracy, and 52 were incidents of armed robbery against ships.

There was improvement seen in Bangladeshi and Indonesian ports and anchorages, ReCAAP said.

Of concern was the occurrence of two incidents of abduction of crew for ransom on 18th June and 23rd September off Eastern Sabah, Malaysia.

The risk of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains high as demonstrated by the two abduction incidents.

Also of concern was the increase of incidents on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait during January-September, 2019..Some 15 incidents were reported, compared to seven incidents during the same period in 2018.

There was also an increase of incidents on ships anchored off Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia; five incidents were reported during January-September 2019, while no such incident was reported during the same period in 2018, ReCAAP said.


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