IMB: 58 Seafarers Kidnapped in Q1, 2017

Illustration; Image Courtesy: EUNAVFOR

Pirates and armed robbers attacked 43 ships and captured 58 seafarers in the first quarter of 2017, slightly more than the same period last year, according to the latest ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy report.

The global report highlights persisting violence in piracy hotspots off Nigeria and around the Southern Philippines – where two crew members were killed in February. Indonesia also reported frequent incidents, mostly low-level thefts from anchored vessels.

In total, 33 vessels were boarded and four fired upon in the first three months of 2017. Armed pirates hijacked two vessels, both off the coast of Somalia, where no merchant ship had been hijacked since May 2012. Four attempted incidents were also received, IMB said.

According to the IMB’s report, there are three major concerns:

Gulf of Guinea kidnappings

Of the 27 seafarers kidnapped worldwide for ransom between January and March 2017, 63% were in the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria is the main kidnap hotspot, with 17 crew taken in three separate incidents, up from 14 in the same period last year. All three vessels – a general cargo ship, a tanker and a bulk carrier – were attacked while underway 30-60 nautical miles off the Bayelsa coast. Three more ships were fired upon at up to 110 nautical miles from land, and many other attacks are believed to go unreported.

“The Gulf of Guinea is a major area of concern, consistently dangerous for seafarers, and signs of kidnappings increasing. IMB has worked closely with the response agencies in the region including the Nigerian Navy which has provided valuable support, but more needs to be done to crack down on the area’s armed gangs,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB. “We urge vessels to report all incidents so that the true level of piracy activity can be assessed.”

 Growing violence around the Southern Philippines

Nine ships reported attacks in the first quarter of 2017 in the Southern Philippines compared with just two in the same period last year. These include an armed attack on a general cargo vessel in which two crew were killed and five kidnapped for ransom. Kidnappers captured five more people in attacks on a fishing trawler and a tug.

According to IMB, militant activity may be behind the escalating violence in waters around the Southern Philippines. Armed groups use speedboats to target seafarers and fishermen in slow-moving, low vessels.

Areas such as the Sulu Sea and Sibutu Passage are particularly risky. IMB recommends that ships avoid these waters by transiting West of Kalimantan, if possible – and, as ever, follow the industry’s latest best practice measures, to protect against attacks.

Seized fuel tanker Aris 13; Image Courtesy: EUNAVFOR

First Somali hijackings after five-year lull

Somali pirates successfully hijacked a small bunkering tanker and a traditional dhow, both within their territorial waters. A total of 28 crew were taken hostage and subsequently released within a relatively short time. IMB suspects that these incidents were opportunistic, particularly as the hijacked vessels were not following the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP4) recommendations.

“IMB continues to encourage all vessels transiting waters around Somalia to follow the BMP4 recommendations. The recent attacks should serve as a warning against complacency, as Somali pirates are still capable of carrying out attacks,” said Mukundan.

“The presence of international navies who patrol these waters is extremely important as it provides an added layer of deterrence to the pirates and more importantly helps to secure one of the most important trade routes of the world,” he added.

 

Share this article

Follow World Maritime News

In Depth>

Events>

<< May 2018 >>
MTWTFSS
30 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 1 2 3

The 27th World Gas Conference

The 27th World Gas Conference is the leading global industry event and is the definitive gathering of influential leaders, buyers and sellers, policy-makers and experts from around the world.

You will hear critical business insights and lively debates on the most topical issues facing the global gas industry today and in the future.

From 25-29 June 2018, Washington DC is expected to host 12,000 attendees, 500 speakers and 350 exhibitors representing, more than 600 companies from 100 countries.

Presented by the IGU, this is the largest and most high-profile gas event that is conducted by the industry for the industry.

Read More

read more >

Europort 2018

From 15-17 May 2018, the 12th edition of Europort Romania willl take place in the IDU Hall in Constanta…

read more >

BlueWeek2018

The BlueWeek2018 will be held on 28-29-30 May in Rotterdam, under the auspices of the Blue Forum…

read more >

Posidonia 2018

Posidonia, the international shipping exhibition, has long been established as one of the major calendar events…

read more >