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IMB: West African Waters world’s worst for pirate attacks

The seas around West Africa remain the world’s most
dangerous for piracy, the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) latest report

Of the 75 seafarers taken hostage onboard or
kidnapped for ransom worldwide so far this year, 62 were captured in the Gulf
of Guinea, specifically off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and
Worldwide, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre recorded
78 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first half of
2019, compared with 107 incidents for the same period of 2018. Overall, 57
vessels were boarded, representing 73% of all attacks.
Pirates killed one person, took 38 crewmembers
hostage, and kidnapped a further 37 for ransom.
Gulf of Guinea world piracy hotspot
The report revealed that 73% of all kidnappings at
sea, and 92% of hostage-takings, took place in the Gulf of Guinea. Armed
pirates in these high-risk waters kidnapped 27 crewmembers in the first half of
2019, and 25 in the same period in 2018.
Two chemical tankers were hijacked, as well as a tug
that was then used in another attack. Of the nine vessels fired upon worldwide,
eight were off the coast of Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer. These attacks
took place on average 65 nautical miles off the coast – meaning they are
classified as acts of piracy.
“But there are some encouraging signs of improvement,”
according to the IMB. The organization reported “a welcome and marked decrease”
in attacks in the Gulf of Guinea for the second quarter of 2019, commending the
Nigerian navy for actively responding to reported incidents by dispatching
patrol boats.
While recognizing that many attacks go unreported,
IMB recorded 21 incidents around Nigeria so far in 2019, down from 31 in the
same period of 2018.
Despite the recent fall in Gulf of Guinea attacks,
IMB is urging seafarers in the region to remain vigilant and report all
suspicious activity to regional response centres and the IMB PRC.
Meanwhile, in Malaysia, ten crew were kidnapped from
two fishing boats off eastern Sabah in June. Of these, nine crew are reported
to have been released.
Around Indonesia, ongoing information-sharing
cooperation between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC continues to
show positive results. The 11 incidents reported in Indonesian waters remains
the lowest Q2 figure since 2009 when three incidents were reported.
Violent attacks in South America
A vessel was fired upon in the Guayas River after
departing from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second largest city. This is the first time
an incident involving the firing of weapons has been reported to the IMB PRC in
Elsewhere in South America, incidents of violent
armed theft against ships at anchor have been reported in Callao in Peru, Jose
Terminal in Venezuela and Macapa in Brazil.
World Maritime News.

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