The latest figures from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) on global piracy shows 27 reported incidents in the first three months of 2023, down from 37 in the same quarter of 2022.
According to the IMB, vessels were boarded in 24 of the incidents, with two attempted incidents and one hijacking. Six crew were kidnapped, two were taken hostage, one was assaulted and two threatened across the incidents, according to IMB.
South America accounted for a third of the reported incidents, with a particular cluster at Callao anchorage, Peru. Incidents in the region are a risk to crew, with two hostages taken, one crew member assaulted and another threatened. The five incidents at Callao in Q1 2023 are consistent with figures in recent years.
Singapore’s eight recorded incidents is down from 15 in Q1 2022, but still account for 30% of global incidents.
“While incidents in this region tend to be cases of petty theft, the threat of violence remains a worrisome possibility, with knives sighted and reported in two of the incidents,” said IMB.
The Gulf of Guinea has been a “hotbed” of piracy and armed robbery in recent years, said IMB, but just five cases were report in the first quarter 2023, down from eight in Q1 2022 and 16 in Q1 2021.
Despite the falling figures in the region, IMB noted the hijacking of a product tanker on March 25, 140nm WSW of Pointe Noire, The Congo. After five days of no communication, the vessel was located by a French naval asset and six crew were reported as kidnapped.
IMB Director Michael Howlett said: “We emphasise the need for continued, robust and coordinated regional and international naval presence to act as a deterrent to prevent and respond to piracy – especially considering nearly 85% of international trade is transported via the sea and it is the seafarers who need to be safeguarded.”