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Piracy at lowest level in decades, but IMB cautions against complacency

Piracy at lowest level in decades, but IMB cautions against complacency

(Posted on 16/10/21)

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported the lowest number of reported piracy and armed robbery incidents for the first nine months of any year since 1994.

Dedicated to the prevention of trade finance, maritime, transport and trade fraud and malpractice, IMB is a focal point for the international trading and shipping industry and organisations which facilitate the movement of goods. IMB also manages the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, which acts to suppress piracy and armed robbery against ships.

IMB’s latest global piracy report recorded 97 incidents of piracy and armed robbery for the first nine months of 2021 – the lowest level of reported incidents since 1994. In 2021, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 85 vessels boarded, nine attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon and one vessel hijacked.

Reported incidents are down to their lowest level in decades, but violence against seafarers has continued with 51 crew kidnapped, eight taken hostage, five threatened, three injured, two assaulted and one killed, according to the latest IMB statistics.

While the reduction of reported incidents is a welcome, IMB PRC warns that seafarers must remain vigilant as violence against crew remains high in many areas of the world.

The Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 46 for the same period in 2020. Most notably, Nigeria only reported four incidents in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018. Crew kidnappings in the region have dropped with only one crew member kidnapped in Q3 2021, compared to 31 crew members taken in five separate incidents during Q3 2020. All Q3 incidents in 2021 were also against vessels at port anchorages whilst the average successful kidnapping location in Q3 2020 was approximately 100NM from land.

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