The International Maritime Bureau, IMB, in its latest piracy report has disclosed that piracy incidents in the first nine months of 2021 are the lowest reported in 17 years.
According to the report, which was released on Monday, 18 October, 2021, 85 vessels were boarded, nine attempted attacks were made, two vessels shot at, and one hijacked. This is compared to 51 crew kidnapped, eight taken hostage and one killed, at the other end of the scale.
TheFact Nigeria notes that though the bureau viewed the decrease as a welcoming development, it re-iterated its ongoing warning for seafarers to remain vigilant particularly in view of high levels of violence against crew in many areas.
The report has it that the Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in 2021’s first nine months, compared to 46 for the same period in 2020.
“Notably, Nigeria reported only four, compared to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018. Crew kidnappings in the region dropped with a single crew member kidnapped in quarter three 2021, compared to 31 in five separate incidents during the same quarter in the preceding year.
“All 2021 quarter three incidents were against vessels at port anchorages and the average successful kidnapping location was 100 nautical miles from land“, the report srated.
Furthermore, the report attributed the overall reduction of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region to enhanced maritime security and response co-ordination measures adopted by regional and national authorities.
It is noted also that the IMB statement makes no mention of piracy incidents, kidnappings, violence against crew or hijackings on the east coast of the continent off Somalia including the Horn of Africa.
Going further east, the IMB notes 20 armed robbery incidents in the Singapore Straits, the highest since last year, and four up on the 2019 number. Attacks are low level and opportunistic in nature, and IMB warns that perpetrators pose a direct threat to seafarers and vessels underway.
In four incidents, crew were threatened, assaulted or injured. There was also a “noticeable reduction” in incidents reported from Indonesian waters. The six reported in the first nine months of this year is the lowest in Indonesian water since 1993.