International Maritime Bureau calls for vigilance on piracy off the coast of Somalia
A global maritime body on Wednesday called on foreign ships to remain vigilant as they transit the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, saying that despite the fall in piracy off the coast of Somalia, the danger persists in the Gulf. from Guinea.
The latest report from the International Maritime Bureau (BMI) of the International Chamber of Commerce indicates that no piracy attacks were reported in 2019 and 2020.
In 2018, the IMB said three ships reported being hit by gunfire in the area, including the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somalia, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
“Although the risks of incidents have reduced, Somali hackers continue to possess the capacity and capability to carry out incidents,” IMB said in its annual piracy report, saying the threat still exists in the waters of the country. south of the Red Sea, in the Gulf of Aden. including Yemen and the northern coast of Somalia, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and off the eastern and southern coasts of Somalia.
In the past, ships have been attacked off Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mozambique as well as in the Indian Ocean and off the western and southern coasts of India and the western Maldives.
According to IMB, Somali pirates tend to be well armed with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, and sometimes use skiffs launched from mother ships, which can be fishing vessels or hijacked dhows.
Analysts say the drop in piracy incidents is a relief, however, for shipping companies using the Indian Ocean that had been targeted by hackers in previous years, often paying the hefty ransom to secure the release of their vehicles and l ‘crew.
Meanwhile, 135 crew members were kidnapped from their ships in 2020 around the world, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for more than 95% of the number of kidnapped crews, the report says.
According to the report, a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents.
“Since 2019, the Gulf of Guinea has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of kidnappings of several crews. In the last quarter of 2019 alone, the Gulf of Guinea recorded 39 crew members abducted in two separate incidents, ”IMB said.
The incidents in the Gulf of Guinea are particularly dangerous as more than 80% of the attackers were armed with guns, according to the report.
“All three hijackings and nine of the 11 ships fired in 2020 were related to this region. Crew kidnappings have been reported in 25% of ship attacks in the Gulf of Guinea – more than in any other region in the world, ”IMB said.