The ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.
These incidents can be broken down as following:
- 107 vessels boarded;
- 32 attempted attacks;
- 13 vessels fired upon;
- 4 vessels hijacked.
However, no vessels were reported as hijacked in the third quarter of 2018, marking the first time since 1994 when no vessel hijackings have been reported in two consecutive quarters.
Nevertheless, incidents of this crime remain, with the number of crew members held hostage increasing, compared with the same period in 2017—from 80 incidents to 112 by the third quarter of 2018.
Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, stated:
While the record low number of hijackings in the second and third quarters of 2018 is of course to be celebrated, incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery remain common
Piracy trends in the Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea accounts for 57 of the 156 reported incidents. Most of these incidents have been reported in and around Nigeria (41), and there has also been a noticeable increase in the number of vessels boarded at the Takoradi anchorage, in Ghana.
In addition, 37 of the 39 crew kidnappings for ransom globally have taken place in the Gulf of Guinea region, in seven separate incidents. A total of 29 crew members were kidnapped in four separate incidents off Nigeria, including a 12-crew kidnapping from a bulk carrier off Bonny Island, Nigeria in September 2018.
Moreover, no new incidents have been reported off the coast of Somalia in the third quarter of 2018, while two fishermen were reported kidnapped off Semporna, Malaysia in September 2018. Incidents in the remaining regions include border on low-level opportunistic theft.
Types of ships attacked
As far as what kind of vessels were attacked, IMB reported the following:
- 56 tankers attacked;
- 51 bulk carriers attacked;
- 13 container ships;
- 36 other.
Commenting on the above, IMB called masters and crew members to be vigilant and report all incidents to the 24-hour manned PRC.
See more information in the full IMB report on piracy incidents