• Monday, May 27, 2024
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IMB report raises concerns over continued threat of Somali piracy

IMB report raises concerns over continued threat of Somali piracy

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has raised concern on the continued pirate attack off the coast of Somalia in its first quarter report for 2024.

A total of 33 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were recorded in the first three months of 2024, an increase from 27 incidents for the same period in 2023.

Of the 33 incidents reported, 24 vessels were boarded, six had attempted attacks, two were hijacked and one was fired upon. Violence towards the crew continues with 35 crew members taken hostage, nine kidnapped and one threatened.

The report highlights the continued threat of Somali piracy incidents with two reported hijackings. In addition, one vessel each was fired upon, boarded and reported an attempted approach. These incidents were attributed to Somali pirates who demonstrate mounting capabilities, targeting vessels at great distances, from the Somali coast.

A Bangladesh-flagged bulk carrier was hijacked on 12 March and its 23 crew were taken hostage by over 20 Somali pirates.

The IMB is aware of several reported hijacked dhows and fishing vessels, which are ideal mother ships to launch attacks at distances from the Somali coastline.

“The resurgence of Somali pirate activity is worrying, and now more than ever it is crucial to protect trade, safeguard routes, and the safety of seafarers who keep commerce moving. All measures to ensure the uninterrupted free flow of goods throughout international supply chains must be taken,” John Denton, secretary general of ICC, said.

Read also: IMB report reveals rise in maritime piracy incidents in 2023

IMB has commended the timely and positive actions from authorities ensuring the release and safety of the crew.

“We reiterate our ongoing concern on the Somali piracy incidents and urge vessel owners and Masters to follow all recommended guidelines in the latest version of the Best Management Practices. We also commend the actions of the Indian navy and Seychelles coast guard for intercepting hijacked vessels, safeguarding crews and capturing pirates,” Michael Howlett, director of IMB, said:

Meanwhile, incidents within the Gulf of Guinea waters continue to be at a reduced level.

Six incidents were reported within the period compared to five in the same period of 2023.

The IMB urges continued caution as nine crews were kidnapped from a product tanker on 1 January 2024 around 45 nautical miles south of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea.

“While we welcome the reduction of incidents, piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea remains a threat. Continued and robust regional and international naval presence to respond to these incidents and to safeguard life at sea is crucial,” Howlett said.