A total of 121 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in the first nine months of 2017, according to the latest report by ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB). The report notes that, while piracy rates were down compared to the same period in 2016, there is continuing concern over attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and in South East Asia.
The increase in attacks off the coast of Venezuela and other security incidents against vessels off Libya – including an attempted boarding in the last quarter – highlights the need for vigilance in other areas, IMB noted.
Namely, IMB informs that 92 vessels were boarded, 13 were fired upon, 11 attacks were attempted and 5 vessels were hijacked in this period. Further, a total of 80 crew was taken hostage, 49 were kidnapped, 3 injured and 2 killed. No incidents were reported off the coast of Somalia.
IMB highlights four main takeaways from the report:
- Malaysia’s success story: The successful intervention of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency when a Thai product tanker was attacked off Pulau Yu in Malaysia in early September
- Nigeria remains risky: A total of 20 reports against all vessel types were received for Nigeria, 16 of which occurred off the coast of Brass, Bonny and Bayelsa. Guns were reportedly used in 18 of the incidents and vessels were underway in 17 of 20 reports. 39 of the 49 crewmembers kidnapped globally occurred off Nigerian waters in seven separate incidents. Other crew kidnappings in 2017 have been reported 60 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria.
- The rise of violence off Venezuela: While only three low-level incidents took place in Venezuela during the same period in 2016, the number this year racked up to 11.
- Tackling piracy is a team effort: One of the strongest weapons triggering the fight against piracy is accurate statistics, according to Mr. Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB.
The report may be downloaded here.