The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has recently published highlights for Q1 2020 IMB Piracy and Armed Robbery Report.
The figures show a 23% increase in the total number of incidents in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019.
In the first quarter of 2020, IMB reported 47 incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, compared to the 38 reported incidents in the first quarter of 2019.
Thirty-seven vessels were boarded, four vessels were fired upon, and six attempted attacks were reported in the first quarter of 2020: this is the second consecutive Q1 report since 1994 with no vessels reported hijacked.
Twenty-two crew reported kidnapping in four separate incidents.
Gulf of Guinea
Of the 47 incidents reported globally, 21 were reported in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). 17 crew in three incidents were kidnapped in these waters at distances of between 45 and 75 nm from the coast; 12 incidents were reported on vessels underway on an average 70nm off the coast. Nigeria remains a hotspot.
All four vessels fired upon were recorded within the Nigerian EEZ with the furthest reported on a container ship, underway around 130 nm SW of Brass.
The IMB PRC continues to liaise with the Regional Navies, who have responded to incidents from time to time. The IMB welcomes the BMP WA: it is industry guidelines to assist ships in these waters to mitigate the risk of being attacked and boarded.
Waters off Somalia
No incidents reported off Somalia. The IMB, however, urges caution to all seafarers while transiting these waters, especially as Somali pirates continue to possess capability and capacity. The reduction in the HRA size should also not be taken as a green light for complacency. ALL Masters are continued to be encouraged to follow all recommendations in the BMP5 while transiting these waters.
The IMB PRC information exchange with the Indonesian Marine Police has allowed strategic patrolling: this has helped keep incidents under control, and five incidents have been reported under the IMO definition of Armed Robbery. Singapore Straits continues to be a concern with five incidents reported in Q1 2020. The incidents are ongoing after the spike seen in Q4 of 2019. All seafarers are encouraged to keep a vigilant lookout and employ recommended anti-piracy/robbery measures in these waters.
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre
Founded in 1991, the IMB PRC’s 24-hour manned centre remains a single and trusted point of contact to report the crimes of piracy and armed robbery. The centre has not only assisted ships in a timely manner, but also provides the maritime industry, response agencies, and governments with transparent data, received directly from the Master of the vessel under attack or its owners.
The IMB PRC’s prompt forwarding of reports and liaison with response agencies, its broadcasts to shipping via GMDSS Safety Net Services, and email alerts to ships’ CSOs (Company Security Officers) are all provided free of charge, and these have helped with the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers, globally.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre remains at the service of the shipping industry and wishes all seafarers COVID-free voyages along with blue skies, following seas, and safe and secure transits.