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News: IMB 2019 Piracy and Armed Robbery Report shows decrease in overall reported incidents but unprecedented rise of crew kidnappings

News & Insights 15 January 2020

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) have published their 2019 report on Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships.

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) have published their 2019 report on Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships. The report states that 162 incidents of piracy and armed robbery were reported against ships worldwide, in comparison to 201 incidents in 2018. There has been an unprecedented number of crew kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea.

Of the reported incidents there were four hijacked vessels, 11 vessels fired upon, 17 attempted attacks and 130 vessels boarded.

Gulf of Guinea

The Gulf of Guinea saw more than a 50% increase in kidnappings in 2019, including a large increase in the last quarter, as reported by IMB. The number of crew kidnapped increased from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019 and the region now accounts for over 90% of global crew kidnappings.

The Gulf of Guinea has also seen an increase in violence with all four vessel hijackings taking place in the region along with ten of the 11 vessels reported coming under fire.

Michael Howlett, Director of the ICC IMB has commented as follows:

'We remain concerned that this region has recorded an unprecedented rise in crew kidnaps. These latest statistics confirm the importance of increased information exchange and coordination between vessels, reporting and response agencies in the Gulf of Guinea Region. Without the necessary reporting structures in place, we will be unable to accurately highlight the high-risk areas for seafarers and address the rise of piracy incidents in these persistently vulnerable waters.'


IMB report that there have been no reported incidents of piracy or armed robbery in Somalia, yet the IMB PRC advises that vessels and crews remain cautious when travelling through the region. In particular, the report warns that 'Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean.'

The full report can be found in the attachment on the right.

For more information, please contact your usual club contact or the authors of this article.​



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