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Gulf Of Guinea: World’s Piracy Hotspot 2021 – IMB

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has described the Gulf of Guinea as the world’s piracy hotspot in 2021, no thanks to the incessant attacks on vessels and kidnapping of seafarers.

The IMB in its quarterly report on maritime piracy declared that the Gulf of Guinea remains dangerous for seafarers, accounting for nearly half of all reported piracy incidents in the first quarter.

IMB’s latest global piracy report records 38 incidents since the start of 2021 – compared with 47 incidents during the same period last year. In the first three months of 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 33 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon, and one vessel hijacked.

Despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for Q1 2021, violence against crew is on the rise in comparison to previous years. Since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew in Q1 2020. A crew member was also killed in Q1 2021.

ICC Secretary General, John Denton AO, said: “Seafarers are in many respects the unsung heroes of our global economy. Government, businesses and maritime response agencies must take appropriate measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of crew members so that we can ensure the uninterrupted free flow of goods throughout international supply chains.”

IMB stated, “The Gulf of Guinea continues to be particularly dangerous for seafarers accounting for nearly half of all reported piracy incidents. All the kidnappings and the one crew fatality also occurring in the region.”

IMB Director Michael Howlett, said: “Pirates operating within the Gulf of Guinea are well-equipped to attack further away from shorelines and are unafraid to take violent action against innocent crews.

The furthest recorded kidnapping occurred on 11 March 2021 when pirates kidnapped 15 crew from a Maltese flagged Chemical Tanker, 212nm south of Cotonou, Benin. In another incident, a fishing vessel hijacked on 8 February 2021 was used by pirates as a mother vessel to facilitate other attacks.

The IMB PRC commends the Coastal response agencies and independent international navies tasked in the Region for actively responding to reported incidents and encourages their continued efforts in making the GoG waters safer for the seafarers.


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