IMB: 87 Maritime Piracy Incidents in 1H, 2017

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Image Courtesy: EUNAVFOR

The first half of 2017 saw a total of 87 incidents reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre compared with 97 for the same period last year, indicating a continuing decline in the number of reported incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery against ships. 

Recording some of the lowest figures seen in the last five-year period, the latest piracy report shows that in the first six-months of 2017, 63 vessels were boarded, 12 fired upon, four were hijacked and attacks were attempted on another eight vessels. A total of 63 crew have been taken hostage so far, this year while 41 have been kidnapped from their vessels, three injured and two killed.

However, IMB noted that the encouraging downward trend has been marred however by thehijacking of a small Thai product tanker en route from Singapore to Songkhla, Thailand. The hijacking, at the end of June, was conducted by six heavily armed pirates who transferred 1,500 MT of gas oil to another vessel. The incident followed a similar pattern to a series of product tanker hijackings in the region which occurred approximately every two weeks between April 2014 and August 2015.

“To prevent criminal gangs carrying out attacks on other product tankers, the IMB PRC is calling on Malaysian and Indonesian authorities to take robust action, in the same vein as their response which brought perpetrators of the previous spate of attacks to justice,” said Pottengal  Mukundan, Director, IMB.

Cooperation between Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines has been recognised as the fundamental reason for the overall decline in the number of reported incidents in and around the Philippines – from nine cases recorded in the first quarter of the year to just four cases in the second quarter. Overall, the number of mainly low-level attacks off Indonesia has also decreased from 24 in 2016 to 19 in 2017.

Somali pirates remain threat to merchant ships

The hijacking of an Indian dhow in early April was one of five incidents off Somalia reported in the second quarter of 2017. Added to a further three reports of vessels coming under fire and a bulk carrier being boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the incident reveals that Somali pirates still retain the skills and capacity to attack merchant ships far from coastal waters.

Pirates in Nigeria continue to dominate when it comes to reports of kidnappings. So far, this year they have been responsible for the abduction of 31 crew in five reported incidents. The numbers include 14 crew members taken from two separate vessels in the second quarter of the year.

Violence against crews continues with half of all reports of vessels being fired upon coming from Nigeria.

Recognizing the need to get a clearer understanding of the depth of under reporting in the Gulf of Guinea region the IMB, in association with Oceans Beyond Piracy, has proposed the idea of a ‘Community of Reporting’ – a project aimed at encouraging all stakeholders to share reports of piracy and armed robbery with the IMB.

In the same view,  five crew members were taken from a general cargo vessel identified as the Panama-flagged Oya 1 which was boarded by armed pirates while underway on July 30, around 15 nautical miles south west of Bonny Island, Nigeria.

Out of the five crew members, two are said to be Moroccan officers, and three other crew members, according to Moroccan media.

The attack was confirmed by IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, however, the identity of the vessel was not revealed.

“The incident was reported to the Nigerian navy who responded and located the ship. It was reported that some crew members were missing,” the IMB said.

As informed, the Nigerian navy vessel towed the ship to a safe port for investigation.

Based on the latest report from the piracy watchdog, pirates in Nigeria continue to dominate when it comes to reports of kidnappings, and vessels being fired upon.

Not including the latest incident, 31 crew in five reported incidents have been taken by Nigerian pirates. The numbers include 14 crew members taken from two separate vessels in the second quarter of the year.

The 1986-built vessel of 1,276 dwt and formerly known as Celia, is managed by Ocean Express of Congo.

The company is yet to provide a comment on the attack  World Maritime News

Amehnews recalled the six crew members that was reported kidnapped from a general cargo vessel off Nigeria, according to ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report. Pirates boarded an unidentified ship while it was underway around 21 nautical miles south of Nigerian Coast on May 17. Following the attack, pirates escaped.

The remaining crew sailed the ship to Bonny anchorage.

The Nigerian Navy is investigating the case, ICC IMB said.

World Maritime News contacted relevant parties for more details on the incident, however, they are yet to reply.

The kidnapping occurred just a day after a foiled attack against bulk carrier MV Lord Mountbatten while the vessel was sailing some 230 nautical miles southwest of Salalah, the Gulf of Aden.


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