Resurgence of piracy in Gulf of Guinea worries shipping community

Ship piracy hits 30-year low in Q1


The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported an increase in piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships in the Gulf of Guinea and Singapore Straits in the first half of 2023.

The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre received reports of 65 incidents of piracy and armed robbery worldwide in the first half of this year, an increase from 58 incidents for the same period in 2022. Of the 65 incidents reported, 57 vessels were boarded, with 36 crew taken hostage and 14 kidnapped.

IMB Director, Michael Howlett, said, “The resurgence in reported incidents including hostage situations and crew kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea waters is concerning. The IMB calls for continued, robust regional and international naval presence as a deterrent to address these crimes.”

Thee Gulf of Guinea saw a surge in maritime incidents in the first half of this year, with five incidents in Q1 and nine in Q2. Twelve of these were armed robberies and two were piracy, targeting anchored vessels in the region.

The piracy incidents include 14 crew members kidnapped, 8 taken from vessels within territorial waters, 31 held hostage in two separate hijackings where communication/navigation equipment was destroyed, and partial cargoes stolen. One incident involved the abduction of 6 crew members.

“We once again call on Gulf of Guinea regional authorities and the international community to refocus their attention on the region, to establish long-term, sustainable solutions that effectively address these crimes and protect the seafaring and fishing communities,” Howlett said.

The IMB report also raised concern over a 25% increase in reported piracy incidents in the Singapore Straits compared to the same period last year, with crew members at risk due to weapons being reported in at least eight incidents.

The IMB has requested that littoral states allocate resources to address these crimes.

The Indonesian archipelagic region recorded a decrease in incidents with seven incidents reported, primarily involving anchored or berthed vessels.

South and Central America accounted for 14% of global incidents, with 13 reported incidents, including attempted boarding, hostage situations, and crew assaults and threats at Callao Anchorage in Peru, Colombia, Macapa Anchorage in Brazil, an

d Panama.

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