Rise in piracy and robbery incidents in Gulf of Guinea and Singapore Strait

A rise in reported incidents in the Gulf of Guinea and the Strait of Singapore has become a cause for concern, according to the latest piracy report from ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

The report was that there were 99 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships during the first nine months of 2023, up from 90 incidents during the same period in 2022.

Of the incidents reported, 85 vessels were boarded, nine had attempted attacks, three were hijacked, and two were fired upon. A successful boarding was achieved in 89% of the targeted vessels. Most incidents occurred at night.

During these attacks, 69 crew members were taken hostage, 14 were kidnapped, eight were threatened, three were injured, and one was assaulted.

IMB Director Michael Howlett said that “the Gulf of Guinea stands as a region of concern with a rise in reported incidents, as opposed to the downward trend we have seen in the past two years”.

Howlett said that “the IMB sees regional ownership as critical to safeguard shipping and trade and to address these crimes.”

In the Gulf of Guinea there were 21 incidents recorded during the first nine months of 2023, up from 14 incidents during the same period in 2022. Four of these were classed as piracy, with the remainder being armed robbery. In the GoG, 54 crew were taken hostage, 14 were kidnapped, and two were injured.

In the Strait of Singapore there were 33 reported incidents during the first nine months of 2023, slightly higher than the 31 incidents during the same period last year. Of these incidents, 31 vessels were boarded, five crew members were taken hostage, and two were threatened. Ship stores or properties were the primary target for theft.

The IMB report also noted an increase in the number of incidents in the Indonesian archipelagic region. There were 12 incidents reported during the first nine months of 2023, up from 10 incidents during the same period in 2020 (seven in 2021). The number of reports from Callao Anchorage in Peru (a port that has seen warnings issued by some Group Clubs) increased to 13, from eight during the corresponding period last year. During these incidents nine crew members were taken hostage, one was threatened and another was assaulted.