The Gulf of Guinea has been described as the world’s piracy hotspot in 2021, going by the incessant attacks on vessels and kidnapping of seafarers.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in its quarterly report on maritime piracy declared that the Gulf of Guinea remains dangerous for seafarers, accounting for nearly half of all reported piracy incidents in the first quarter.
It noted that while the number of reported piracy attacks against commercial shipping declined in 2021, violence against crew is on the rise with the Gulf of Guinea remaining the world’s piracy hotspot in 2021.
ICC Secretary General, John Denton AO, said, “Seafarers are in many respects the unsung heroes of our global economy. Government, businesses and maritime response agencies must take appropriate measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of crew members so that we can ensure the uninterrupted free flow of goods throughout international supply chains.”
During the first three months of 2021, the IMB report showed a total of 38 incidents compared with 47 a year ago. According to the report, the Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half (43 percent) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021.
Despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for Q1 2021, IMB said violence against crews is on the rise compared with the previous years.
Since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew a year ago and one crew member was also killed in Q1 2021.
While the IMB PRC commends the active response efforts in the Gulf of Guinea by the coastal response agencies and independent international navies, they continued to highlight the dangerous nature of the region and are encouraging continuing the efforts in making the waters safer for the seafarers.
“The Gulf of Guinea continues to be particularly dangerous for seafarers accounting for nearly half of all reported piracy incidents. All the kidnappings and the one crew fatality also occurring in the region,” it stated.
IMB Director Michael Howlett, said, “Pirates operating within the Gulf of Guinea are well-equipped to attack further away from shorelines and are unafraid to take violent action against innocent crews.”