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Web Alert: The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) publishes first quarter report on piracy and armed robbery for 2018 – significant increase in incidents compared to 2016 and 2017

13 April 2018

The IMB has published its report on piracy and armed robbery for the first quarter of 2018, covering the period from 1 January to 31 March 2018. The report highlights a surge in armed attacks against ships around West Africa.

66 incidents have been reported in the first three months of 2018, with 39 ships boarded, 12 attempted attacks, 4 ships hijacked and 11 ships fired upon.

In relation to crew, the IMB reports that 100 crew members were taken hostage, 2 injured, 3 threatened and 14 kidnapped.

The following four countries compose the main bulk of the 66 reported incidents:

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Southeast Asia/Indonesia

Although the number of piracy attacks have dropped substantially due to the increase in patrols by the littoral states’ authorities since July 2015, ships are advised to continue maintaining anti-piracy watches when transiting these waters. In respect of armed robbery, robbers continue to target ships whilst underway or whilst at anchor, especially during the night.

Gulf of Guinea/Nigeria

The Gulf of Guinea accounts for 29 incidents between January and March 2018, more than 40% of the global total. With the exception of one crew member, all crew kidnappings and hostages occurred in this region. Nigeria remains a piracy hotspot accounting for all 4 of the ship hijackings and 8 of the 11 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

Two vessels have reported being fired upon in 2018.  Somali pirates continue to possess the capability and capacity to carry out attacks. The IMB urges ships to adhere to the Best Management Practices (BMP version 4) recommendations whilst transiting these waters.

Attack by ship-type

The main ship-types affected are as follows:

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We strongly recommend that members comply with the latest version of BMP4 and related guidance in all affected areas.


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