IMB Report Shows Persistent Piracy and Kidnapping Risk in Gulf of Guinea

Photo: Denys Yelmanov / Shutterstock

All crew kidnappings reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre during the first six months of 2018 occurred in the Gulf of Guinea in six separate incidents, highlighting the persistent risk of maritime piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region, the IMB said in its 2018 first-half report.

A total of 107 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre from January through June of this year.

In total, 69 vessels were boarded, with 23 attempted attacks, 11 vessels fired upon and four vessels hijacked.

No vessels were reported as hijacked in the second quarter.

The number of crew kidnappings decreased from 41 by the second quarter in 2017 to 25 so far in 2018. However, all 25 crew kidnappings reported this year have occurred over six incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, highlighting the higher risks in this area, the report says.

The IMB warns, however, that the true number of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea is believed to be “significantly higher” than what is reported.

Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, said: “The 2018 figures aptly demonstrate the value of timely and transparent reporting. The reports help to focus on risk areas, and to accurately inform vessels of evolving dangers and allow authorities to deliver an effective response.”

Fewer incidents in the Philippines and off Somalia

Outside the Gulf of Guinea, the number of 2018 incidents decreased in other piracy hotspots.

There were no reported incidents recorded off the coast of Somalia in the second quarter of 2018. 

Masters are still urged however to continue to maintain high levels of vigilance when transiting the high-risk area and to follow the latest version of the best management practices.

The number of incidents in the Philippines dropped from 13 by the second quarter of 2017 to three in the same time period this year.

The IMB also commended the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) for the prompt and successful boarding of a product tanker which was under attack by armed robbers around six nautical miles East off Pulau Tinggi, Malaysia. Fourteen robbers were detained for investigation and two were arrested in Indonesia by Indonesian Enforcement authorities.

The IMB’s full report can be found here