New Report Highlights Continued Threat Of Piracy

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London and Kuala Lumpur 10 April 2024: The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) raises concern on the continued acts of maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia in its first quarter report for 2024, released today. 

Cause Of Concern 

A total of 33 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were recorded in the first three months of 2024, an increase from 27 incidents for the same period in 2023.

Of the 33 incidents reported, 24 vessels were boarded, six had attempted attacks, two were hijacked and one was fired upon. Violence towards the crew continues with 35 crew members taken hostage, nine kidnapped and one threatened.

Worrying rise 

The Q1 report highlights the continued threat of Somali piracy incidents with two reported hijackings. In addition, one vessel each was fired upon, boarded, and reported an attempted approach. These incidents were attributed to Somali pirates who demonstrate mounting capabilities, targeting vessels at great distances, from the Somali coast. 

A Bangladesh-flagged bulk carrier was hijacked on 12 March and its 23 crew were taken hostage by over 20 Somali pirates. The vessel was underway approximately 550 nautical miles (nm) from Mogadishu while en route from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates.  

The IMB is aware of several reported hijacked dhows and fishing vessels, which are ideal mother ships to launch attacks at distances from the Somali coastline. 

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton said: “The resurgence of Somali pirate activity is worrying, and now more than ever it is crucial to protect trade, safeguard routes, and the safety of seafarers who keep commerce moving. All measures to ensure the uninterrupted free flow of goods throughout international supply chains must be taken.”

Caution urged

Incidents within the Gulf of Guinea waters continue to be at a reduced level. Six incidents were reported in Q1 2024 compared to five in the same period of 2023. The IMB urges continued caution as nine crew were kidnapped from a product tanker on 1 January 2024 around 45nm south of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. 

While we welcome the reduction of incidents, piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea remains a threat. Continued and robust regional and international naval presence to respond to these incidents and to safeguard life at sea is crucial,” Mr Howlett said.

Rising risks in Bangladesh and Singapore Straits

There has been a noticeable increase in reported low-level opportunistic crimes in Bangladeshi waters in 2024 with seven reported incidents received – six from vessels at anchorage in Chattogram – compared to one report for the whole of 2023. 

The Singapore Straits recorded five incidents against four large bulk carriers and a general cargo vessel, considered low-level opportunistic incidents. But the threat for crew safety remains high as five crew were taken hostage in three separate incidents in January. 

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Source: ICC