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Web Alert: The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) publishes its first quarter report on piracy and armed robbery for 2017

08 May 2017

The IMB has published its report on piracy and armed robbery for the first quarter of 2017, covering the period from 1 January to 30 March 2017. The report highlights persisting violence in piracy hotspots off Nigeria and around the Southern Philippines.

43 incidents have been reported in the first three months of 2017, with 33 ships boarded, four attempted attacks, two ships hijacked and four ships fired upon.

In relation to crew, the IMB reports that 31 crew members were taken hostage, three assaulted, two killed and 27 kidnapped – the highest first quarter figure since 2013.

The majority of the 43 reported incidents occurred in the following four countries:

Piracy January - March 2017

Southeast Asia/Indonesia

The IMB reports growing violence around the Southern Philippines as a result of militant activity. Nine ships reported attacks in the first quarter of 2017 compared with just two in the same period last year. Two crew members were killed. Areas such as the Sulu Sea and Sibutu Passage are considered high-risk areas and the IMB recommends that ships avoid these waters by transiting west of Kalimantan, if possible.

Gulf of Guinea/Nigeria

Of the 27 crewmembers kidnapped worldwide between January and March 2017, 63% were in the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria remains a kidnap hotspot with 17 crewmembers taken in three separate incidents, up from 14 in the same period last year. Attacks are often violent, accounting for three of the four ships fired upon worldwide. The IMB urges ships to report all incidents so that the true level of piracy activity can be assessed.

Gulf of Aden/Somalia

Somali pirates successfully hijacked two ships for the first time in the last five years. A total of 28 crew members were taken hostage. The IMB considers that these incidents were opportunistic, as the ships were not following Best Management Practices (version 4) and related guidance. These incidents show that the Somali piracy risk still remains and members should be vigilant.

Attack by ship-type

The main ship types attacked were as follows:

Ship Type 2017

We strongly recommend that members comply with the latest version of Best Management Practices (version 4) and related guidance in all affected areas.

For further information, please contact your usual contact at the club or the authors of this article.