The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), has released its latest quarterly report on piracy. This latest report covers the first nine months of the year. It highlights a 10% increase in incidents of piracy and armed robbery.
85 vessels were boarded, 9 were the subject of attempted attacks, 3 were hijacked and 2 were fired upon. The perpetrators managed to board 89% of the targeted vessels, with most incidents occurring at night. Although reported violence against crew members was at one of its lowest levels in thirty years, the risk remains real. 69 people were taken hostage, 14 kidnapped, 8 threatened, 3 injured and 1 assaulted.
While 33 incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait, compared with 31 for the same period in 2023, the situation in the Gulf of Guinea deteriorated sharply. Twenty-one incidents were reported, compared with 14 for the same period in 2022. 54 people were taken hostage, 14 were kidnapped, and 2 were injured.
Gulf of Guinea
On July 22, 2023, a fishing vessel with 23 crew members on board was hijacked by 13 armed pirates approximately 18 nautical miles off Freetown, Sierra Leone. The IMB commends the efforts of the Liberian Coast Guard in locating the hijacked fishing vessel off Monrovia. After an exchange of gunfire, the Coast Guard secured the vessel. All crew members have been accounted for. Two pirates were apprehended. The 14 crew members kidnapped, the three vessels hijacked, and the two vessels fired upon in 2023 all occurred in this region.
IBM is concerned about the sometimes late or inadequate reporting of these incidents, it commends the authorities concerned for investigating almost all reported incidents. It urges regional cooperation and coastal authorities to redouble their efforts to protect seafarers, shipping and regional and international trade.
Positive actions taken by navies, including preventive and disruptive anti-piracy tactics, have helped to improve the situation.
As the global community grapples with increasingly complex geopolitical challenges and rapidly-evolving criminal activity. The IMB/ICC Piracy Report proves to be a crucial resource for evaluating the present condition of maritime security. Additionally, it offers guidance to stakeholders who aim to implement competent risk reduction strategies.