Southeast Asian waters are changing the Gulf of Guinea as essentially the most harmful for industrial delivery, accounting for practically half of piracy incidents within the first quarter of this 12 months.
The ICC Worldwide Maritime Bureau (IMB)’s quarterly piracy and armed theft report reveals an almost flat top-line quantity for maritime piracy incidents, with 37 recorded within the first three months of 2022 in comparison with 38 incidents over the identical interval final 12 months. Nonetheless, practically half (41 %) occurred in Southeast Asian waters, notably within the Singapore Straits.
The Gulf of Guinea, which accounted for practically half (43 %) of all reported piracy incidents within the first three months of 2021, recorded a major decline in maritime piracy. Solely seven incidents have been reported within the first three months of the 12 months.
“Sustained efforts are nonetheless wanted to make sure the continued security of seafarers within the West African area that is still harmful as evidenced by the hijack of a product tanker off the coast of Ivory Coast on 24 January, throughout which all 17 crew have been taken hostage. Stories of armed robberies have additionally been acquired inside the anchorage waters of Angola and Ghana,” mentioned IMB.
IMB believes that concerted and sustained efforts to remove piracy within the unstable waters of the Gulf of Guinea are bearing fruits, with no reported crew kidnappings through the quarter in comparison with 40 crew kidnappings in the identical interval in 2021. The efforts of the regional and worldwide navies have additionally resulted in a discount of reported incidents from 16 within the first quarter of 2021 to seven over the identical interval in 2022.
Risk to seafarers stay and is finest exemplified by the latest assault on the Panamax bulk provider Arch Gabriel, which was boarded by pirates 260 NM off the coast of Ghana on April 3. Italian Navy warship Luigi Rizzo and its helicopter intervened, saving the crew and enabling the vessel to proceed to a secure port beneath escort.
Worldwide, this was the primary quarter since 2010 the place no crew kidnappings have been reported, though violence towards and threats to crews continued. 23 seafarers have been taken hostage and an extra 4 have been threatened.
The Singapore Straits has develop into a harmful sea route for industrial delivery accounting for nearly 30 % of all incidents through the interval. Although the reported incidents are thought-about low-level opportunistic crimes and fall beneath the definition of armed theft, they proceed to pose dangers to crews. Within the 11 reported incidents within the Singapore Straits waters, two crew have been threatened and one taken hostage all through the incident. In not less than one incident, a gun was used to threaten the crew.
“Perpetrators are armed in most incidents, placing crews in danger even within the low-level opportunistic incidents. Coastal states are urged to extend efforts to establish and apprehend these criminals to reinforce maritime safety and facilitate safer commerce throughout these essential and strategic waterways,” mentioned Michael Howlett, IMB Director.
Exterior the Singapore Straits, 4 incidents have been reported off the coasts of Indonesia and Malaysia, in comparison with two over the identical interval in 2021.
In accordance with IMB, Peruvian waters are an space of concern. The South American nation’s ports accounted for 27 % of worldwide incidents, with 10 reported occasions. Six incidents have been reported within the Callao anchorage in comparison with 5 incidents throughout the identical interval final 12 months and just one in 2019.
Three incidents have been additionally reported in Macapa anchorage off the coast of Brazil. In two of the incidents, seafarers have been both threatened or taken hostage, threatened with knives, tied up with their face lined with burlap all through the incident.
Though no incidents have been reported within the Gulf of Aden, the specter of piracy nonetheless exists within the waters off the southern Purple Sea and within the Gulf of Aden, together with the Yemeni and Somali coasts. Regardless of a long-running lull, Somali pirates proceed to own the potential and capability to hold out incidents, with service provider ships suggested to stay alert whereas transiting in these waters.