GLOBAL PIRACY FALLS TO LOWEST LEVELS IN DECADES
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has recorded huge success as maritime piracy and armed robbery attacks dropped to the lowest recorded levels in almost three decades.
The ICC IMB annual report recorded 115 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2022 – compared to 132 in 2021 – with half in south-east Asian waters, particularly the Singapore Straits, where incidents continue to rise.
Reports review that Perpetrators successfully gained access to vessels in 95% of reported incidents. This was broken down into 107 vessels boarded, two hijacked, five attempted attacks and one vessel fired on. In “many cases” vessels were either anchored or steaming when boarded, with nearly all incidents occurring during the hours of darkness.
The continued and much-needed reduction was attributed to an overall decrease in pirate activity in the highly risky waters of the Gulf of Guinea – down from 35 incidents in 2021 to 19 in 2022.
The IMB noted that sustained efforts are still needed to ensure continued safety of seafarers in the Gulf of Guinea region, which remains dangerous as evidenced by two incidents in the last quarter of 2022.
In mid-November, a Ro-Ro vessel was commandeered by pirates, 28 nautical miles south-west of Turtle Islands, Sierra Leone. All crew were taken hostage and the pirates attempted to navigate through shallow waters resulting in the vessel running aground. The crew freed themselves and took refuge in the citadel until Sierra Leone authorities boarded the vessel.