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Graphic and map showing 2023 maritime piracy incidents by location

Graphic courtesy IMB Piracy Reporting Centre

IMB: Rise in Piracy, Successful Somali-Based Hijacking a Cause for Concern

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1800
January 16, 2024

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported an increase in maritime piracy incidents in 2023, including the first successful Somali-based hijacking since 2017.

The IMB’s annual report noted a rise in piracy and armed robbery against ships, with 120 incidents reported in 2023 compared to 115 in 2022. The report further revealed that 105 vessels were boarded, nine attacks were attempted, four vessels were hijacked, and two were fired upon worldwide in 2023.

Of particular concern is the increase in the number of crew members taken hostage and kidnapped, which has jumped from 41 to 73 and from two to 14 in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Additionally, 10 crew members were threatened, four injured, and one assaulted in 2023.

The successful hijacking of a handymax bulk carrier off the coast of Somalia on December 14, 2023, marked the first such incident since 2017. This worrying event, which also involved the hijacking of two dhows, underscores the continued threat posed by Somali pirates.

“This is a cause for concern and the IMB is once again calling for all masters and vessel owners to continue following the recommendations and reporting procedures as per the latest version of the Best Management Practices,” said IMB Director Michael Howlett. He added that the incident demonstrates the continued capabilities of the Somali pirates.

The Gulf of Guinea, despite a decline in reported incidents, remains a dangerous area. The region accounted for three of the four globally reported hijackings, all 14 crew kidnappings, and 75% of reported crew hostages in 2023. Two crew members were also injured in this region.

Concerns have been raised over crew safety in the Singapore Straits, the Malacca Straits, and the Indonesian archipelago due to the high number of incidents reported. The Singapore Straits, in particular, reported 95% successful incidents, with 37 incidents reported in 2023 and nine crew taken hostage.

South America has also seen potential threats, with 14 incidents reported from vessels at Callao anchorage in Peru.

“We are concerned due to the late reporting and under reporting by vessels. The IMB continues to encourage timely reporting of all incidents, as it contributes to a more accurate understanding of risk,” said Howlett.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre, which was founded in 1991, operates a 24-hour point of contact to report piracy-related crimes and lend support to ships under threat. The IMB urges all shipmasters and owners to report all piracy and armed robbery incidents to the Piracy Reporting Centre to help ensure adequate resources to tackle maritime piracy.”IMB Reports Rising Maritime Piracy Incidents in 2023, Including First Successful Somali-based Hijacking Since 2017″

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