Reported piracy incidents in the first quarter 2023 were at the lowest Q1 figures since 1993, according to the latest figures from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
The figures show 27 reported incidents in the first three months of 2023, down from 37 in the same quarter of 2022.
Vessels were boarded in 24 of the incidents, with two attempted incidents and one hijacking. Six crewmembers were kidnapped, two were taken hostage, one was assaulted and two threatened across the incidents, according to the piracy watchdog.
IMB said the Gulf of Guinea has been a “hotbed of piracy and armed robbery” in recent years though only five cases were report in the first quarter 2023, down from eight in Q1 2022 and 16 in Q1 2021.
Despite the falling figures in the region, IMB noted the hijacking of a product tanker on March 25, 140nm WSW of Pointe Noire, Congo. After five days of no communication, the vessel was located by a French naval asset and six crewmembers were reported as kidnapped.
South America accounted for a third of the reported incidents, with a particular cluster at Callao anchorage, Peru. Incidents in the region are a risk to crew, with two hostages taken, one crewmember assaulted and another threatened. The five incidents at Callao in Q1 2023 are consistent with figures in recent years.
Singapore’s eight recorded incidents is down from 15 in Q1 2022, but still accounted for 30% of global incidents.
“While incidents in this region tend to be cases of petty theft, the threat of violence remains a worrisome possibility, with knives sighted and reported in two of the incidents,” IMB said.
“We emphasise the need for continued, robust and coordinated regional and international naval presence to act as a deterrent to prevent and respond to piracy, especially considering nearly 85% of international trade is transported via the sea and it is the seafarers who need to be safeguarded,” IMB Director Michael Howlett said.
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