Some 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in 2017. It is the lowest annual number of incidents since 1995, when 188 reports were received,” the IMB said in its latest annual report.
In 2017, 136 vessels were boarded, while there were 22 attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked.
In 15 separate incidents, 91 crewmembers were taken hostage and 75 were kidnapped from their vessels in 13 other incidents. Three crewmembers were killed in 2017 and six injured.
In contrast, 2016 saw a total of 191 incidents reported, with 150 vessels boarded and 151 crewmembers taken hostage. Despite the improvement IMB was quick to highlight that a persistent danger of piracy remains in the Gulf of Guinea, while it said results in Southeast Asia remain mixed.
In 2017, there were 36 reported incidents with no vessels hijacked in this area and 10 incidents of kidnapping involving 65 crew in or around Nigerian waters.
“Although the number of attacks is down this year in comparison with last year, the Gulf of Guinea and the waters around Nigeria remain a threat to seafarers,” said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan.
“The Nigerian authorities have intervened in a number of incidents helping to prevent incidents from escalating.”
Nine incidents were recorded off Somalia in 2017, up from two in 2016, with the most recent an attack on an Evergreen containership in November.
“This dramatic incident, alongside our 2017 figures, demonstrates that Somali pirates retain the capability and intent to launch attacks against merchant vessels hundreds of miles from their coastline,” said Mukundan.
While the number of incidents in Indonesia fell to 43 versus the 49 in 2016, the number of reported incidents in the Philippines has more than doubled to 22 last year. According to the report, the majority of these incidents were low-level attacks on anchored vessels, mainly at the ports of Manila and Batangas.
In the first quarter of 2017 several vessels underway off the Southern Philippines were boarded and crew kidnapped. However, IMB said alerts broadcast by its Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC), on behalf of the Philippine authorities, have since “helped to avoid further successful attacks”.
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