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News: IMB Q2 2020 piracy and armed robbery report shows records 25% increase in incidents

16 July 2020

The latest report of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) shows a 25% increase in the total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery in Q2 2020 as compared to Q2 2019. The report noted that 98 ships have reported incidents to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in the first half of 2020.

The report recorded 81 ships boarded, 10 reported attempted attacks, six ships fired upon and one ship was hijacked. The consequences of these attacks resulted in 54 crew being kidnapped, 23 taken hostage, 10 crew being threatened and assaulted and six being injured.

However, the report also noted that ship hijackings are at their lowest since 1993. Masters, crew and owners/operators are nevertheless urged to maintain high levels of vigilance especially while navigating in high risk waters.

Regions where incidents reported 






Grand Total







South East ASIA












Indian sub-continent






East Asia






Rest of world






Grand Total







Gulf of Guinea

This region accounted for approximately 90% of global kidnappings with 49 crew kidnapped in nine separate incidents. The IMB PRC continues to liaise with the regional navies including the Nigerian navy in order to combat armed robbery and piracy in the region. The IMB PRC thanked the Nigerian navy in its report on the capture of the 10 pirates and handing them over to Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency for due process. However, the report calls on all countries in the region to take greater responsibility and ownership to address armed robbery and piracy.   

IMB Director Michael Howlett has commented: 'Violence against crews is a growing risk in a workforce already under immense pressure.' He also said that 'we need to change the risk-to-reward ratio for pirates operating within the Gulf of Guinea. Without an appropriate and proportionate deterrent, pirates and robbers will get more ruthless and more ambitious, increasing the risk to seafarers.'


Waters off Somalia 

No incidents have been reported off Somalia, however the IMB urges ships to continue implementing BMP5 recommended practices while transiting these waters.



The Singapore Straits and some Indonesian ports have seen an increase in the number of reported incidents. Most of these are low level, opportunistic crimes, but each has the potential for crew to be taken hostage or injured – as seen in two separate incidents within the Singapore Straits. Vigilance is the key in these waters as the perpetrators prefer to flee if noticed and the alarm raised. All seafarers are encouraged to keep a vigilant lookout and employ recommended anti-piracy/robbery measures in these waters.


South America

The IMB PRC has seen an increase in incidents in Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. Ships have also been fired upon, crews injured and taken hostage. 

All masters, crews and owner/operators are encouraged to report all incidents to the 24-hour manned IMB PRC in order to understand the true risk faced by seafarers in these waters.  


IMB Piracy Reporting Centre

Founded in 1991, the IMB PRC’s 24-hour manned centre remains a single and trusted point of contact to report the crimes of piracy and armed robbery. The centre has not only assisted ships in a timely manner, it also provides the maritime industry, response agencies and governments with transparent data – received directly from the master of the ship under attack or its owners.

The IMB PRC’s prompt forwarding of reports and liaison with response agencies, its broadcasts to shipping via GMDSS Safety Net Services and email alerts to ships’ company security officers, all provided free of charge, has helped the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers, globally.


IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) - contact details      

Tel: +60 3 2078 5763/ +60 3 2031 0287 / +60 3 2031 3106

24 Hrs ANTI PIRACY HELPLINE: +60 3 2031 0014 (Manned 24 Hrs everyday)

Fax: +60 3 2078 5769

E-mail:  /

ISO 27001:2013 certified


The full report, as well as BMP5, can be found in the attachment box. For more information, please contact your usual club contact or the author of this article.​​