Maritime piracy reaches 22-year low, says IMB report

A total of 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in 2017, according to the latest IMB report.

This is the lowest annual number of incidents since 1995, when 188 reports were received.

In 2017, 136 vessels were boarded, while there were 22 attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked. In 15 separate incidents, 91 crewmembers were taken hostage and 75 were kidnapped from their vessels in 13 other incidents. Three crewmembers were killed in 2017 and six injured.

There were 36 reported incidents in the Gulf of Guinea with no vessels hijacked in this area and 10 incidents of kidnapping involving 65 crewmembers in or around Nigerian waters. Globally 16 vessels reported being fired upon – including seven in the Gulf of Guinea.

Nine incidents were recorded off Somalia in 2017, up from two in 2016. In November, a container ship was attacked by armed pirates approximately 280 nautical miles east of Mogadishu. The pirates, unable to board the vessel due to the ship’s evasive manoeuvring fired two RPG rockets, both of which missed, before retreating.

Six Somali pirates were subsequently detained by European Union Naval Force, transferred to the Seychelles and charged with “committing an act of piracy” where they face up to 30 years’ imprisonment, if convicted.

“This dramatic incident, alongside our 2017 figures, demonstrates that Somali pirates retain the capability and intent to launch attacks against merchant vessels hundreds of miles from their coastline,” said Mr Mukundan.

Indonesia recorded 43 incidents in 2017, down from 49 in 2016. The IMB report notes that Indonesian Marine Police patrols continue to be effective in the country’s 10 designated safe anchorages.

Source: IMB

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