Global piracy incidents hit lowest levels in decades

ICC IMB is calling for players to sustain their efforts, as global piracy and armed robbery incidents reach their lowest levels since 1992.

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is calling for regional and international players to sustain their efforts, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, as global piracy and armed robbery incidents reach their lowest levels since 1992.

ICC IMB’s latest global quarterly piracy report details 90 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first nine months of 2022. Note that, this is the lowest recorded figure in three decades.

Perpetrators were successful in gaining access to the vessels in 95% of the reported incidents. Specifically, they divide as 85 vessels boarded, 4 attempted attacks, and 1 vessel hijacked. In many of the cases, vessels were either at anchor or steaming when boarded. In the meantime, nearly all the incidents occurred during the hours of darkness.

Though these are amongst the lowest reports in decades, violence to crew continues. Hence, marking 27 crew taken hostage, 6 assaulted and 5 threatened. The risk to the crew, however petty or opportunistic the incident, remains real.

Gulf of Guinea

Of the 90 global piracy and armed robbery incidents, the Gulf of Guinea region incorporated 13 reported incidents. This comparing to 27 over the same period in 2021. Hence, signaling a positive and significant decline in the number of reported incidents in the region of West Africa. Note that, WA emerged as the world’s biggest piracy hotspot in recent years.

“We commend the efforts of the coastal authorities of the Gulf of Guinea. While the decline is welcome, sustained and continued efforts of the coastal authorities and the presence of the international navies remain essential to safeguard seafarers and long-term regional and international shipping and trade. There is no room for complacency.”

Michael Howlett, IMB Director
Singapore Straits

Incidents in the Singapore Straits continue to increase with 31 reports in the first nine months of 2022, compared to 21 in the same period last year. Vessels underway, including several large vessels and tankers, suffered boarding in all 31 reports. n most cases, reported stolen ship stores or properties. Crews also remain at risk with weapons reported in at least 16 incidents, including some involving very large bulk carriers and tankers.

“While these are so far considered low-level opportunistic crimes, with no crew kidnappings or vessel hijackings, littoral states are requested to increase patrols in what is a strategically important waterway for the shipping industry and for global trade.”

Michael Howlett, IMB Director

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre also believes there is a degree of underreporting as well as late reporting of incidents from these waters and encourages Masters to report all incidents as early as possible so that local authorities are able to identify, investigate and apprehend the perpetrators.

South Americas

The number of reports from Callao anchorage in Peru has dropped from 15 in the first nine months of 2021 to 8 in 2022. Additionally, five incidents have been reported at Macapa Anchorage, Brazil including one on 30 August, where six security and duty crew were assaulted and tied up by perpetrators who boarded an anchored bulk carrier.

Source: ICC

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