Maritime Piracy Down in Q3, Yet Gulf of Guinea Remains a Risky Area With 86% Attacks


A report published in says, there have been 119 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery this year compared to 156 incidents in the same time period in 2018, according to the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) third quarter results.

Fewer piracy incidents

The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report for the third quarter of 2019 show fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first nine months of 2018. 

119 incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. 

Overall, the 2019 incidents include 

  • 95 vessels boarded, 
  • 10 vessels fired upon, 
  • 10 attempted attacks, and 
  • four vessels hijacked. 

The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.

Armed incidents remain

While the overall number of incidents has dropped, incidents involving guns and knives remain consistent. 

There have been 24 knife-related and 35 gun-related incidents reported in 2019, compared to 25 and 37 for the first nine months of 2018. 

These statistics confirm IMB’s concerns over continued threats to the safety and security of seafarers.

Gulf of Guinea Incidents

  • The Gulf of Guinea remains a high risk area  for piracy and armed robbery. 
  • The region accounts for 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally.

In July a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120nm SW from Brass. Ten crew members were kidnapped from the vessel and released four weeks later. 

In August a bulk carrier and a general cargo vessel were boarded within hours of each other at Douala anchorage, Cameroon and a total of seventeen crew were kidnapped from the vessels. Within six weeks all kidnapped crew were released.  

This incident demonstrates the range of piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.

“Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB. 

Act from owners and masters

“It is important that shipmasters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted, and suspected incidents to ensure that an accurate picture of these attacks emerge and  action is taken against these criminals before the incidents further escalate.”

Improvement in Indonesia

Indonesia reported a decline in overall piracy related incidents with 20 actual and attempted attacks for the first nine months of 2019. 

  • Over the past five years, Indonesia has gradually reduced its share of piracy related incidents. 
  • As recent as 2015, Indonesia reported 86 actual and attempted piracy incidents through Q3. 
  • Indonesia’s impressive gains can be attributed to continued information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC.

No incidents but threats remain in Somalia

Somalia has no piracy-related incidents recorded for the first nine months of 2019. Although no incidents have been reported, Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean. 

As a result, the IMB PRC advises ship owners to remain cautious when transiting these waters.

Global anti‐piracy support

Since 1991 the IMB PRC’s 24-hour manned centre, has provided the maritime industry,  governments and response agencies with timely and transparent data on piracy and armed  robbery incidents, received directly from the Master of the vessel or its owners.

The  IMB PRC’s  prompt forwarding  of reports and liaison  with response agencies, its  broadcasts to shipping via Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Safety Net  Services and email alerts to Company Security Officers, all provided free of cost, has helped  the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers, globally.

The vital step in tackling piracy

IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected  piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB PRC globally. 

This first step in the response  chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy.  

Transparent statistics from an independent, non- political, international organization can act  as a catalyst to achieve this goal.

View the full IMB report  here

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Source: ICC-CCS


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