90 incidents between January and September

Maritime piracy at an all-time low

by Port News Editorial Staff

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) latest report shows that there were 90 piracy attacks and armed robberies against ships in the first nine months of 2022. This is the lowest level ever recorded in the last 30 years.

There were 85 cases of ships actually being boarded (95% of the total), four assaults were unsuccessful, and in one case the ship was seized.

Although the number of attacks has been down overall, the level of violence against crews has remained high, with 27 seafarers abducted, six attacked and five threatened.

A total of 40 bulk carriers, 23 tankers and 10 container ships were boarded between January and September.

The Gulf of Guinea continues to be particularly dangerous. 13 of the 90 accidents recorded in the reporting period took place there. However, the report points out that the number of cases has fallen sharply compared to the first nine months of 2021, when 27 accidents were registered.

IMB Director Michael Howlett  said the efforts of the coastal authorities in the Gulf of Guinea are worthy of praise.  “We commend the efforts of the coastal authorities of the Gulf of Guinea. While the decline is welcome, sustained and continued efforts of the coastal authorities and the presence of the international navies remain essential to safeguard seafarers and long-term regional and international shipping and trade. There is no room for complacency.”

On the other hand, an increasing number of cases have been observed in the Straits of Singapore. 31 incidents have been recorded in the first nine months of 2022 (there were 21 in the same period of 2021). Ships were successfully boarded by pirates in all recorded cases. Again, the risk to seafarers is high: 16 assaults were carried out by armed men.

“While these (attacks in the area)  are so far considered low level opportunistic crimes, with no crew kidnappings or vessel hijackings, littoral states are requested to increase patrols in what is a strategically important waterway for the shipping industry and for global trade,” said Mr. Howlett.

The number of cases reported off the coast of Peru also fell. In the first nine months of the year there were eight, almost 50% less compared to the previous year’s figures.

Finally, the report states that as many as five incidents were registered off the coast of Brazil. One of these, which occurred on 30th  August, was particularly violent,  with  six crew members of a bulk carrier at anchor being  assaulted and tied up.

Translation by Giles Foster

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