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Web Alert: International Maritime Bureau (IMB) publishes its 2016 annual report - crew kidnappings on the rise despite a decrease in piracy from 2015

11 January 2017

The IMB has published its report on piracy and armed robbery for the 12 month period from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016.

According to the report, a total of 191 incidents were reported which represents the lowest annual figure since 1998. However, the number of crew kidnappings in 2016 was the highest in 10 years.

In total during 2016, 150 ships were boarded, seven hijacked, 12 fired upon and there were 22 attempted attacks.

In relation to crew, the IMB reports that 151 crew members were taken hostage and 62 kidnapped, up from 19 in 2015.

 Incident locations

 

Southeast Asia/Indonesia

There has been a reduction in the number of incidents reported in Indonesia down from 108 in 2015 to 49 in 2016. Although attacks in Southeast Asia tend to be low-level in nature, vessels were boarded in all but three of the incidents. Ships should maintain strict anti-piracy watches and report any incident or suspicious behaviour to local authorities and the IMB.

Southeast Asia/Southern Philippines

An emerging threat to the shipping industry is the increase in crew kidnappings in the Sulu Sea. 12 crew members were kidnapped in 2016. The Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian authorities are considering creating a safe corridor to protect against these attacks. The IMB advises ships to consider avoiding the Sulu Sea by routing vessels west of Kalimantan.

Gulf of Guinea/Nigeria

Kidnappings remain the greatest concern in this area. Three ships were hijacked in the region in 2016. There were 36 reported incidents, up from 14 in 2015. Nigerian attacks are often violent, accounting for nine of the 12 vessels fired upon worldwide. The IMB considers that in reality there are significantly more attacks than those reported.
Members should be aware of the change in reporting for piracy events in the Gulf of Guinea, as advised by the club on 20 June 2016 in the following web alert.

Gulf of Aden/Somalia

Attacks by Somali pirates have reduced significantly. There were two recorded incidents off Somalia in 2016. However, the IMB warns ships that the risk of being approached or attacked still exists.

Attack by ship-type

The main ship types affected are as follows:

 Ship Types

The club continues to advise members to be cautious about the low levels of piracy incidents reported, especially off Somalia. We consider that there is likely to be a degree of under-reporting and that a risk still remains, despite the reduced number of incidents in 2016.

We strongly recommend that members comply with the latest version of Best Management Practices (version 4) and related guidance in all affected areas.

For further information, please contact your usual contact at the club or the authors of this article.