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Overview of global piracy incidents in half of 2022

Views: 12     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-08-02      Origin: Site

According to a new report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), in the first half of 2022, there were 58 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against merchant ships in global waters, including 55 pirate boardings, two attempted attacks and one ship hijacking. These incidents resulted in 23 crew members being taken hostage and 5 crew members being threatened, but no crew members were kidnapped. This is the lowest global figure for piracy and armed robbery against merchant ships for the same period since 1994, and represents a decline of approximately 15% from the same period in 2021 (68 incidents in the first half of 2021). Piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, which has received much attention in recent years, have also decreased significantly, with only 12 incidents in the first half of this year. However, the Singapore Strait and Peru's Callao (Callao) port is still an active area for piracy, the first half of each reported 16 and 7 piracy incidents, the two places accounted for 40% of all piracy incidents. Therefore, members are reminded that ships sailing through the Singapore Strait, as well as in Callao anchorage still need to maintain a high degree of vigilance and take effective anti-piracy measures.


Overview of global piracy incidents in first half of 2022



Piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa

Thanks to the joint efforts of maritime authorities, local navies and international navies in the countries and regions bordering the Gulf of Guinea, no incidents of crew kidnapping were reported in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea in the first half of 2022, and piracy incidents decreased from 23 in the first half of 2021 to 12 in the same period of 2022. However, on Jan. 2, a product oil tanker off the coast of Côte d'Ivoire was hijacked and all 17 crew members were taken hostage. Meanwhile, pirates boarded a Panamax bulk carrier 260 nautical miles off the coast of Ghana on April 3, and the hijacking was ultimately unsuccessful due to the crew's timely entry into shelter and timely escort by the Italian Navy. Despite the decrease in reported incidents, the threat of piracy and crew abductions in the Gulf of Guinea remains. Ships passing through these waters should remain vigilant and use all available means of lookout, while members are advised to follow the recommendations and guidelines of Best Management Practices in West Africa.



Piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden

Since 2018, only two incidents of piracy and armed robbery have been reported in the waters of the Gulf of Aden, occurring in 2018 and 2021, with almost no incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported for the rest of the year. However, some suspicious incidents have been reported, and the threat of piracy remains in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden waters, including off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia. Despite the reduced chance of incidents, Somali pirates will continue to be present and have a high capacity to attack, and all member ships are advised to still follow the recommendations in the Best Management Practices for Deterring Piracy and Enhancing Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea (BMP5) when sailing in these waters. As piracy incidents continue to decrease, major international shipping organizations have agreed to reduce the geographic boundaries of the Indian Ocean Piracy "High Risk Area" (HRA), which will come into effect on September 1, 2021.



Piracy incidents in the Singapore Strait

Compared to other areas such as the Gulf of Guinea and the Gulf of Aden piracy incidents continue to decline, the Singapore Strait since 2019 piracy incidents have continued to rise. Some analysis suggests that the increase in the number of incidents of maritime robbery in the Singapore Strait may be due to the continued deterioration of the COVID-19 situation, which has caused financial and economic hardship to local communities and affected the livelihoods of some. 16 piracy incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait in the first half of 2022, essentially the same as in 2021, accounting for 28% of global piracy incidents. In all 16 of these incidents, pirates were successful in boarding ships. While piracy incidents in Singapore waters are considered low-level opportunistic crimes, in at least six incidents, crews still faced situations where they were threatened by pirates carrying weapons. Also according to the ReCAAP (Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia) report, a total of 27 piracy incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait in the first half of 2022, of which 19 incidents occurred in the eastbound lanes, particularly off Batam Island and Bintan Island, and the remaining eight occurred in the guarded area and westbound lanes.


In addition, through the analysis of the 149 incidents in the ReCAAP report for the period 2018-2022, it is found that piracy incidents in the Singapore Strait have continued to increase since 2018, shifting from mainly targeting tugboats/barges to targeting large vessels, especially bulk carriers with a gradually increasing share. In 2021, piracy attacks on bulk carriers accounted for 63% of the annual incidents, of which about 75% of the attacks occurred in the eastbound navigable channel, and from the initial western waters to the current eastern waters, especially the eastbound channel near Batam Island and Bintan Island. Piracy incidents mainly occur in the night time period, accounting for nearly 83% of the incidents. Therefore, member ships sailing through the Singapore Strait, especially eastbound, should actively take the following anti-piracy measures. 


1. Keep abreast of the latest situation of piracy in the Singapore Strait, especially the areas with frequent incidents, through the ReCAAP website (www.recaap.org).


2. take precautionary measures by referring to the Regional Guide to Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia 2.


3. sounding a timely alarm when a suspicious small vessel is sighted loitering near a ship or when suspicious persons are found on board a ship, which can effectively deter pirates and report to VTS.


4. it is recommended that ships enter the voluntary reporting area with reference to the Guidelines for Shipping Companies on Voluntary Community Reporting (VCR) 通过邮址information_fusion_centre@defence.gov.sg向资讯 Integrated Center (IFC) to report vessel position as well as unusual events.



Piracy Incidents in the Callao Anchorage, Peru

Incidents of piracy in the Callao anchorage have been on the rise since 2018, with seven pirate attacks reported in the first half of 2022, all of which involved pirates boarding ships while they were at anchor, with four crew members being held hostage. Pirates usually operate with ship cables, materials and crew belongings, taking advantage of the dark hours at anchor to board fully loaded and poorly guarded ships, while also boarding from the stern when the ship is slowing down or throwing up anchor operations. Most of the perpetrators are armed with guns or knives and there have been cases where crew members have been injured during the incident. Therefore, member ships calling at Callao port are advised not to take it lightly, and the Association's local general agent has issued a circular letter advising member ships to take the following precautions against piracy while at anchor in Callao.


1. all ships at anchor should keep a good watch and vigil (with special attention to the bow and stern decks) for early detection of any small vessels intending to approach.


2. adequate lighting should be arranged around decks and ships, and searchlights may be used to illuminate the sea from time to time in order to detect unknown small vessels in a timely manner.


3. although pirates do not normally come to blows head-on, there have been recent instances of pirates using guns and knives and the crew should be well protected and respond properly


4. deck cables should be tied up or unused cables put in storage to avoid theft.


5. all boarding devices such as pilot ladders and gangways should be stowed and not hung over the side of the ship


6. maintain contact with the port and report to "Costera Callao" or "TRAMAR Callao" if you see any unidentified boat approaching or boarding the ship and ask to arrange a patrol boat.

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