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.
“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.
“The Gulf Of Guinea (GOG) remains a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery. The region accounts for 86 percent of crew taken hostage, and nearly 82 per cent of crew kidnappings globally.
“In July a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120nm South West from Brass. Ten crew members were kidnapped 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 GOG and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.”