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Pirate Attacks, Armed Robbery At Sea Returns In Gulf Of Guinea – IMB Report

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The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has raised concern about the resurgence of reported incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea waters in its mid-year report for 2023.

The report said about 65 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were recorded in the first half of 2023, an increase from 58 incidents for the same period in 2022.

Of the 65 incidents reported, 57 vessels were boarded, four had attempted attacks, two were hijacked and two were fired upon.

Perpetrators successfully boarded 90 percent of targeted vessels. Violence towards crew continues with 36 taken hostage, 14 kidnapped, three threatened, two injured and one assaulted.

“The resurgence in reported incidents including hostage situations and crew kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea waters is concerning. The IMB calls for continued, robust regional and international naval presence as a deterrent to address these crimes,” Michael Howlett, IMB Director, said.

The Gulf of Guinea witnessed a concerning surge in maritime incidents between quarter one and quarter two of 2023, with five incidents in the first quarter and nine in the second quarter. Out of these, 12 were classified as armed robberies and two as piracy, predominantly targeting anchored vessels in the region.

Fourteen crew were kidnapped, of which eight crew members were taken from vessels anchored within territorial waters. Additionally, in two separate hijackings, 31 crew members were held hostage, communication and navigation equipment were destroyed, and partial cargoes were stolen. One of these incidents also involved the abduction of six crew members.

“We once again call on Gulf of Guinea regional authorities and the international community to refocus their attention on the region, to establish long-term, sustainable solutions that effectively address these crimes and protect the seafaring and fishing communities,” Howlett said.

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