Maritime piracy and armed robbery attacks reached the lowest recorded level since 1994, the annual piracy report of the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB), reveals.
IMB attributes the drop in incidents to targeted action taken by authorities but has called for continued coordination and vigilance to ensure the long-term protection of seafarers.
In 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre received 132 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships. Incidents comprise 115 vessels boarded, 11 attempted attacks, five vessels fired upon and one vessel hijacked.
The increased presence of international naval vessels and cooperation with regional authorities has had a positive impact – including, commended, robust actions of the Royal Danish Navy in neutralizing a suspected pirate action group in late November.
The overall reduction in reported incidents in 2021 is attributed to a decline of activity reported within the Gulf of Guinea region which has seen a decrease from 81 reported incidents in 2020 to 34 in 2021. However, while kidnappings at sea dropped 55% in 2021, the Gulf of Guinea continues to account for all kidnapping incidents globally, with 57 crew taken in seven separate incidents.
IMB Director Michael Howlett said: “While the overall reduction in globally reported incidents is welcomed, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre urges coastal states to acknowledge the inherent risk from piracy and armed robbery and robustly address this crime within the waters of their exclusive economic zone. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre remains committed to actively engage and exchange information with coastal states to promote safety for seafarers and trade.”