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  • Mark DuPont

Maritime Piracy in 2017 Reaches 22-year low...Why?

As noted on SAFETY4SEA's website, a total of 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to ICC's International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in 2017, which is the lowest annual number of incidents since 1995. In particular, in 2017, 136 vessels were boarded, while there were 22 attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked. That's a 22-year low.

With that said, within those numbers are some interesting data points: Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea is still dangerous. A total of 20 reports against all vessel types were received for Nigeria, 16 of which occurred off the coast of Brass, Bonny and Bayelsa. Guns were reportedly used in 18 of the incidents and vessels were underway in 17 of 20 reports. 39 of the 49 crewmembers kidnapped globally occurred off Nigerian waters in seven separate incidents. Other crew kidnappings in 2017 have been reported 60 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria.

And in the Philippines, incidents have more than doubled. The rise of violence off Venezuela is also something to note.

To what do we give the credit to in lowering these numbers? The IMB references these highlights an earlier report:

  • Although attacks in the Philippines increased, alerts broadcast by the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC), on behalf of the Philippine authorities, have since helped to avoid further attacks.

  • The successful intervention of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency is also cited as a success, when a Thai product tanker was attacked off Pulau Yu in Malaysia in early September.

  • Tackling piracy is a team effort: One of the strongest weapons triggering the fight against piracy is accurate statistics, according to Mr. Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB.

What other factors do you think contribute to this overall decline?

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