Seafarers face continuing threats from pirates and armed robbers on the world’s seas, says the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB), reporting 47 attacks in the first three months of 2020.
Another piracy incident was reported in Nigeria, as a group of armed men fired upon a containership, located about 19 nautical miles South West of Bayelsa on January 21, Tuesday. Following, the crew has been reported to be safe and unharmed.
While overall piracy incidents declined in 2019, there was an alarming increase in crew kidnappings across the Gulf of Guinea. In 2019, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre received 162 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide, in comparison to 201 reported incidents in 2018.
Following the kidnap of 20 crewmembers from MV Duke off the coast of Benin, ISWAN and ICMA (the International Christian Maritime Association) partner to express their concerns about the wellbeing and safety of seafarers who sail the “notorious and dangerous waters of the Gulf of Guinea”.
Although IMB figures indicated a decrease in the number of incidents for the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, piracy in terms of crew kidnappings reached another record high this year, pushing shipping to rethink its approach on maritime security.
ICC’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports 119 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships for 2019, in comparison to the 156 incidents that were reported in the same period in 2018, with the Gulf of Guinea remaining a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre reported that a group of pirates has boarded a bulk carrier off the Indonesian cost. The coast guard sailed along with the vessel to Singapore, but when they searched for the pirates onboard, they were nowhere to be found.
Four robbers armed with a gun and knives boarded an anchored tanker, while it was anchored about 5 nm southwest of Conakry, in the Gulf of Guinea, according to IMB Piracy. Upon boarding the ship, they took hostage the duty AB, tide his hands and forced him to lead them to the bridge.
Gard issued a statement alerting about the incidence of fraudulent bills of lading, adding that the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is a believer of prompt dissemination of relevant information is key to successful prevention and control.
ICC published a report on piracy and armed robbery in the timeframe from January 1 to June 30, 2019. Based on the report, the seas circling West Africa are 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.
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