IMB Piracy and Armed Robbery report shows rise in ship violent attacks in 2020

15th July 2020

International Commercial Crime services on 15 July 2020 said violent attacks against ships and their crews have risen in 2020, with 77 seafarers taken hostage or kidnapped for ransom since January, reveals the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) latest piracy report.

The Gulf of Guinea off West Africa is increasingly dangerous for commercial shipping, accounting for just over 90% of maritime kidnappings worldwide. Meanwhile, ship hijackings are at their lowest since 1993. In total, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded 98 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first half of 2020, up from 78 in Q2 2019.

The increasing threat of piracy adds to hardships already faced by hundreds of thousands of seafarers working beyond their contractual periods due to COVID-19 restrictions on crew rotations and international travel.

So far this year, 49 crew have been kidnapped for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea and held captive on land for up to six weeks. Rates are accelerating, with 32 crew kidnapped in the past three months alone. And they are happening further out to sea: two-thirds of the vessels were attacked on the high seas from around 20 to 130 nautical miles off the Gulf of Guinea coastline.

IMB PRC urges vessels to report any attacks promptly. It can then liaise with coastal agencies, international navies and vessel operators, encouraging a quick response to deter piracy and armed robbery and improve the security of seafarers. The Piracy Reporting Centre also broadcasts to shipping via GMDSS Safety Net Services and email alerts to Company Security Officers.

“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,” said Michael Howlett, Director of IMB. “Violence against crews is a growing risk in a workforce already under immense pressure “In the Gulf of Guinea attackers armed with knives and guns now target crews on every type of vessel. Everyone’s vulnerable.”

No incidents were reported off Somalia. Vessels are urged to continue implementing BMP5 recommended practices while transiting these waters. The Somali pirates still maintain the capability for carrying out attacks

Source : manifoldtimes

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