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Web Alert: Web Alert: The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) publishes its 2017 annual report – lowest number of piracy incidents since 1995

12 January 2018

The IMB has published its report on piracy and armed robbery for the 12 month period from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017.

According to the report, a total of 180 incidents were reported, which represents the lowest annual figure since 1995. However, crew safety continues to be a cause for concern.

In total, during 2017, 136 ships were boarded, six hijacked, 16 fired upon and there were 22 attempted attacks.

In relation to crew, the IMB reports that 80 crew members were taken hostage and 49 kidnapped.

The main bulk of the 180 reported incidents for 2017 occurred in the following five countries:
Capture

Southeast Asia/Indonesia/ Philippines

Indonesia recorded 43 incidents in 2017, down from 49 in 2016. The continuing decrease in the number of reported incidents is due to the Indonesian Marine Police patrols in the country’s designated safe anchorages. On the contrary, in the Philippines, the number of reported attacks has more than doubled, from 10 in 2016 to 22 in 2017. The majority are low level incidents against anchored vessels mainly at Manila and Batangas. Vessels underway in the Sulu/Celebes Sea areas were boarded and crew kidnapped in the first quarter of 2017.

Gulf of Guinea/Nigeria

Nigeria recorded 33 incidents with no vessels hijacked. However, there were 10 incidents of kidnapping involving 65 crewmembers in or around Nigerian waters. Of the 16 vessels reported being fired upon globally, seven were in Nigeria, evidencing the violent nature of attacks in these waters.

Gulf of Aden/Somalia

Nine incidents were recorded off Somalia in 2017, up from two in 2016. This increase indicates that Somali pirates still have the capability and intent to carry out attacks. The IMB urges ship masters to maintain high levels of vigilance when transiting the high-risk area and adhere to the Best Management Practices (version 4).

Attack by ship-type

The main ship-types affected are as follows:
Capture 2
Despite the reported decline in piracy and armed robbery at sea, the club continues to advise members to be cautious in all affected areas. We consider that a threat still remains, despite the reduced number of incidents in 2017.

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.