The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has expressed its concern about the increase in piracy and armed robbery incidents reported during the first half of 2023 in the Gulf of Guinea and the Strait of Singapore.
According to data collected in their report, there were 65 incidents worldwide in the first half of the year, representing a 10.8% increase compared to the 58 incidents reported during the same period in 2022. Among these, 57 were boarding incidents, two ships were hijacked, two vessels were fired upon, and there were four other attempted attacks. The perpetrators managed to board 90% of the attacked vessels. Crew members continue to be at significant risk, with 36 seafarers taken as hostages, 14 kidnapped, three threatened, two injured, and one assaulted during the first six months of this year.
Michael Howlett, the director of the IMB, stated, “The escalation of reported incidents, including hostage situations and crew kidnappings in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, is concerning. The IMB calls for a strong and sustained regional and international naval presence as a deterrent to address these crimes.”
These waters saw a concerning increase in incidents between the first quarter of 2023 (5) and the second quarter (9). Out of a total of 14 incidents, twelve were classified as armed robberies, and two as piracy, primarily targeting vessels anchored in the area. Regarding the crews, 31 seafarers were held hostage aboard ships, and six others were kidnapped, remaining missing for several weeks. Communication and navigation equipment were also destroyed, and part of the cargo was stolen during the incidents. In the Strait of Singapore, there was a significant increase (+25%) in reported incidents during the first half of this year (20) compared to the same period last year (16). Although considered low-level opportunistic crimes, the IMB expresses concern and has called on coastal states to allocate the necessary resources to protect vessels navigating the area.
South and Central America account for 14% of the global incidents. Thirteen incidents were recorded in different areas, with the anchorage of Callao in Peru being particularly dangerous for ships.
You can request the IMB’s piracy report for the first half of 2022 at [provide contact information].