The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) released its annual piracy report that shows global piracy incidents are decreasing to its lowest since 1998. However, more cases of crew kidnapping were registered than in the latest 10 years, the most of them occurring in the Asian region.
The 2016 report indicated that last year there were 191 incidents of piracy and armed robbery: 150 vessels were boarded, 12 vessels were fired upon, seven were hijacked, and 22 attacks were thwarted. The number of hostages fell to 151.
Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB said: “The continued fall in piracy is good news, but certain shipping routes remain dangerous, and the escalation of crew kidnapping is a worrying trend in some emerging areas… The kidnappings in the Sulu Sea between East Malaysia and the Philippines are a particular concern.”
In 2016, pirates in 15 different incidents, according to the report, kidnapped 62 people. Half of the incidents happened off West African and 28 around Malaysia and Indonesia.
In last quarter 12 crew were kidnapped from 2 cargo vessels in the Sulu Sea. IMB warned charterers and owners to avoid the area by routing vessels West of Kalimantan.
The Gulf of Guinea also remained as a kidnap hotspot last year, with 34 crew taken in 9 separate incidents. Attacks off Nigeria increased from 14 reported in 2015 to 36 in 2016.
The IMB urged governments to investigate all of the incidents and punish the kidnappers.
In Latin America, Peru reported 11 incidents compared to zero in 2015. 10 of the attacks took place at the country’s main port of Callao.
Incidents dropped in Indonesia from 108 in 2015 to 49 in 2016, In Vietnam from 15 cases, last year to 7 in 2016 and Bangladesh also reported a fall in the number of incidents, from 11 in 2015 to 3 in 2016.