NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A total of 180 incidents of maritime
piracy and armed robbery were reported in 2017, the lowest
annual number of incidents since 1995 when 188 reports were
received, a global maritime body said on Wednesday.
latest report released in London by the International Chamber of
Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reveals that
pirates boarded 136 vessels in 2017, while there were 22
attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels
Despite the fall, the global maritime body cautioned foreign
vessels/masters not to be complacent as they transit the Arabian
Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
"Although the number of attacks is down this year in
comparison with last year, the Gulf of Guinea and the waters
around Nigeria remain a threat to seafarers.
The Nigerian authorities have intervened in a number of
incidents helping to prevent incidents from escalating," said
Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB.
According to IMB, in 15 separate incidents, 91 crew members
were taken hostage and 75 were kidnapped from their vessels in
13 other incidents.
Three crew members were killed in 2017 and six injured.
In 2016, a total of 191 incidents were reported, with 150
vessels boarded and 151 crew members taken hostage.
The report also called on shipmasters to follow the
industry’s Best Management Practices and continue to remain
vigilant as they sail through waters off Somalia.
The report said nine incidents were recorded off Somalia in
2017, up from two in 2016. In November, a container ship was
attacked by armed pirates approximately 280 nautical miles east
of Somali capital Mogadishu.
The pirates, unable to board the vessel due to the ship’s
evasive maneuvering fired two RPG rockets, both of which missed,
The IMB said six Somali pirates were subsequently detained by
European Union Naval Force, transferred to the Seychelles and
charged with "committing an act of piracy" where they face up to
30 years’ imprisonment, if convicted.
"This dramatic incident, alongside our 2017 figures,
demonstrates that Somali pirates retain the capability and
intent to launch attacks against merchant vessels hundreds of
miles from their coastline," Mukundan said.
According to IMB, there were 36 reported incidents in the
Gulf of Guinea last year with no vessels hijacked in this area
and 10 incidents of kidnapping involving 65 crew members in or
around Nigerian waters.
Globally 16 vessels reported being fired upon—including seven
in the Gulf of Guinea.
The drop in piracy incidents is however a relief to shipping
companies using the Indian Ocean that had in previous years been
the target of pirates, often paying heavy ransom to secure
release of their vehicles and the crew.
The African maritime industry, along the Indian Ocean had
until 2013 been greatly affected by piracy that raised the costs
of shipping as insurance companies and private ship security
companies increased their premiums to mitigate the risks.