Overall, the 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.
Despite the decrease in the number of the incidents, attacks with guns and knives remain stable; Specifically, in 2019 there were 24 knife-related and 35 gun-related incidents reported in 2019, compared to 25 and 37 for the first nine months of 2018.
- The Gulf of Guinea:
The Gulf accounts for the 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally.
Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB commented
Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency. It is important that shipmasters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted, and suspected incidents to ensure that an accurate picture of these attacks emerge and action is taken against these criminals before the incidents further escalate.
There was a decrease in piracy incidents, with 20 actual and attempted attacks for the first nine months of 2019. Indonesia has achieved a decline in piracy related incidents, as in 2015, Indonesia reported 86 actual and attempted piracy incidents through Q3. Indonesia’s impressive gains can be attributed to continued information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC.
Somalia has no piracy-related incidents recorded for the first nine months of 2019. Yet, Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean.
IMB PRC advises ship owners to remain cautious when transiting these waters.
In its report, the IMB discusses about some piracy related incidents that took place; For instance, in July, a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120nm SW from Brass. Ten crew members were kidnapped from the vessel and released four weeks later. In August, a bulk carrier and a general cargo vessel were boarded within hours of each other at Douala anchorage, Cameroon and a total of seventeen crew were kidnapped from the vessels. Within six weeks, all kidnapped crew were released. This incident demonstrates the range of piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.
Moreover, in IMB's report from January 1 to September 30, the seas circling West Africa were the most dangerous for piracy, as of the 75 seafarers taken hostage onboard or kidnapped for ransom worldwide so far this year, 62 were captured in the Gulf of Guinea – off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon.
IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB PRC globally. This first step in the response chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy. Transparent statistics from an independent, non-political, international organisation can act as a catalyst to achieve this goal.
Concluding, Nautilus International launched the results of its Nautilus Federation report where 90% of the questioned seafarers answered that they're afraid of criminalisation, as a total of 612 seafarers stated that they did not feel safe from criminalization anywhere in the world.
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