and armed robbery attacks in 2021 reached the lowest recorded level since 1994,
the annual piracy report of the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB),
published recently, reveals.
Drop in incidents attributed to vigorous action
IMB attributes the
drop in incidents to vigorous action taken by authorities but has called for
continued coordination and vigilance to ensure the long-term protection of
Michael Howlett said: “While the overall reduction in globally reported
incidents is welcomed the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre urges coastal states to
acknowledge the inherent risk from piracy and armed robbery and robustly
address this crime within the waters of their exclusive economic zone. The IMB
Piracy Reporting Centre remains committed to actively engage and exchange
information with coastal states to promote safety for seafarers and trade.”
In 2021, the IMB
Piracy Reporting Centre received 132 incidents of piracy and armed robbery
against ships. Incidents comprise 115 vessels boarded, 11 attempted attacks,
five vessels fired upon and one vessel hijacked.
Gulf of Guinea remains world’s piracy hotspot
presence of international naval vessels and cooperation with regional
authorities has had a positive impact – including, commended, robust actions of
the Royal Danish Navy in neutralising a suspected pirate action group in late
reduction in reported incidents in 2021 is attributed to a decline of activity
reported within the Gulf of Guinea region which has seen a decrease from 81
reported incidents in 2020 to 34 in 2021. However, while kidnappings at sea
dropped 55% in 2021, the Gulf of Guinea continues to account for all kidnapping
incidents globally, with 57 crew taken in seven separate incidents.
While the regional
decrease is welcomed the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre warns that the threat to
seafarers persists and continues to urge crews and vessels plying these waters
to be cautious as the perpetrators remain violent and risk to crews remains
high. This is evidenced by the kidnapping of six innocent crew from a container
vessel in mid-December.
Attacks on the rise in the Singapore Straits
incidents against vessels navigating the Singapore Straits were reported to the
Piracy Reporting Centre in 2021, a 50% increase from 2020 and the highest
number of reported incidents since 1992. Vessels were boarded in 33 of the 35
incidents, considered mostly to be opportunistic thefts, though two crew were
injured in two separate cases. Knives were also reported in 13 incidents and
guns in a further two.
efforts of the Indonesian Marine Police are credited for maintaining reduced
levels of incidents in the Indonesian Archipelagic, reports received in 2021
were down to nine from 26 in 2020 and the lowest since 1993. Of the reported
incidents four were off Jakarta and knives were reported in at least five, in
which one crew was threatened.
Continued improvements off Somalia
While the direct
threat of attacks from Somali based pirates appears to have decreased – along
with a further revision and reduction of the High Risk Area in September – the
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre continues to encourage vigilance among shipmasters,
particularly when transiting close to the Somali coast, said a release.