The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) published its report for the first quarter of 2019, revealing less incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first three months of 2018.
Specifically, during the first quarter of 2019, IMB reported 38 incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, which are 28 less incidents than the first quarter of 2018, which stood at 66. IMB detailed that:
- 27 vessels were boarded;
- 7 vessels were fired upon;
- 4 attempted attacks occurred in the first quarter of 2019;
- No vessels were reported as hijacked for the first time since the first quarter of 1994.
Commenting on these results, IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan, said:
These latest statistics from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre are encouraging. However, first quarter statistics is too short a period on which to anticipate trends over the year. It confirms the importance of information sharing and coordinated action between the industry and response agencies. Going forward, it is critical to continue to build more effective reporting structures to enable a strong, unified response when dealing with piracy incidents
Gulf of Guinea
Regarding the Gulf of Guinea, it represented a high number of piracy and armed robbery attacks at sea, with 22 incidents being reported in the first quarter of 2019. The region also accounted for all of the worldwide crew kidnappings as 21 crew members were kidnapped during five separate incidents. Namely, incidents were reported in the coastal countries, of Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo in the first quarter of 2019.
Improvement in Nigeria, but caution still needed
Nigeria is a hotspot for piracy incidents over the last ten years, however, in the first quarter of 2019, the country saw a reduction in reported piracy incidents. It specifically reported 14 incidents of piracy for Q1 2019, in comparison to 22 incidents in Q1 2018.
These results confirm the Nigerian Navy’s increased efforts to ‘actively respond to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats’. Despite the positive results, Nigerian waters are still risky for ships, especially the port of Lagos where four incidents have been reported.
Improvements in Asia
In Asia, Indonesia experienced a decrease in piracy activities for the first quarter of 2019. In particular, there were only three incidents reported against anchored vessels in ports in Indonesia, which are the fewest reported incidents since 2010.
As with the case of Nigeria, enhanced cooperation and information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has enabled regular patrols in high-risk areas.
Data sharing is crucial
The reduction of piracy incidents globally in the first quarter of 2019 reinforces the importance of transparency, communication and coordination, between vessels and coastal authorities.
By reporting all incidents to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre and coastal authorities the response can be better organised improving incident response times and prompt advice to vessels aimed at a more optimal use of resources. National governments and coastal authorities can use this data to collaborate and strengthen their piracy prevention efforts
You may see further information in IMB’s piracy report.