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Piracy attacks drop to lowest levels recorded since 1992

Looking at the first three quarters of this year, the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has recorded the lowest volume of global piracy and armed robbery incidents since 1992.

ICC IMB’s latest global quarterly piracy report details 90 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first nine months of 2022, the lowest recorded figure in three decades.

Perpetrators were successful in gaining access to the vessels in 95% of the reported incidents which are broken down as 85 vessels boarded, four attempted attacks, and one vessel hijacked. In many of the cases vessels were either at anchor or steaming when boarded, with nearly all the incidents occurring during the hours of darkness.

Though these are amongst the lowest reports in decades, violence to crew continues with 27 crew taken hostage, six assaulted and five threatened. The risk to the crew, however petty or opportunistic the incident, remains real.

Of the 90 global piracy and armed robbery incidents, 13 have been reported in the Gulf of Guinea region – compared to 27 over the same period of 2021 – signalling a positive and significant decline in the number of reported incidents in the region off west Africa which emerged as the world’s biggest piracy hotspot in recent years.

IMB director Michael Howlett said: “We commend the efforts of the coastal authorities of the Gulf of Guinea. While the decline is welcome, sustained and continued efforts of the coastal authorities and the presence of the international navies remain essential to safeguard seafarers and long-term regional and international shipping and trade. There is no room for complacency.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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