Global piracy, armed robbery at 27-year low — IMB 

Asia records 57 piracy incidents in eight months 


The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recently released their annual report on Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships for 2021. The IMB identifies that 2021 saw the lowest number of piracy and armed robbery incidents globally since 1994.

This reduction in the number of incidents is attributed in part to actions by authorities specifically in the Gulf of Guinea and Indonesia. However, the report noted that there were still 132 incidents reported.

The report stated the boarding of 115 ships, 11 attempted attacks, five vessels fired upon, and one vessel hijacked.

Violence against crew continued with 57 crew kidnapped, eight held hostage on board their vessels, nine threatened, four injured, three assaulted and one killed, according to the latest IMB statistics.

Gulf of Guinea

In 2021, there were 34 reported incidents in this region as against 81 in the previous year. This reduction in the number of incidents is said to be due to various factors including the continued coordination and the increased presence of international naval vessels.

However, the IMB has warned that the region remains the piracy hotspot globally. In seven separate incidents, 57 seafarers were kidnapped in 2021. While kidnapping incidents have significantly reduced in 2021 as compared to 2020, this region still accounted for all the kidnapping incidents reported globally. The IMB has warned that the risk to seafarers continues to be high as perpetrators remain violent.

South America/Caribbean

Thirty-six incidents were reported in 2021, which included 31 vessels that were boarded (mostly at anchor), three reported attempted boardings and two vessels that were fired upon. Peruvian anchorage incidents accounted for 18 incidents in 2021, a doubling of the number of incidents compared to 2020. In these incidents, six crew were threatened, four were taken hostage and two were assaulted. The perpetrators were mostly armed with knives or other weapons. The IMB recommends that vessels transiting through this region are advised to maintain vigilant watch and anti-piracy measures.

Singapore Straits

This region has recorded the highest number of reported incidents since 1992, where 35 incidents were reported while vessels were underway. This is an increase of 50% in 2021 as compared to 2020. Of the 35 incidents reported, 33 vessels were boarded, and two attempted attacks were made on vessels. In nearly half of the reported incidents, the perpetrators were armed with weapons and often carried out their attacks during the night. The IMB recommends that vessel crews remain vigilant while transiting the Singapore Straits and maintain adequate anti-piracy / robbery measures.

Indonesian Archipelago

Nine incidents were reported in 2021, a decrease from 26 incidents in 2020. The IMB has suggested that this reduction is due largely to the efforts of the Indonesian Marine Police.


There have been no reported incidents in this region since 2019. The IMB had advised that while the direct threat of attacks from Somali-based pirates appears to have decreased, they encourage vessel crews to remain vigilant, especially if transiting close to the Somali coast.

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