The annual Piracy and Armed Robbery Report of the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has raised concern over the rise in piracy incidents in 2023.
The IMB report recorded 120 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2023 compared to 115 in 2022.
The 2023 annual report revealed that 105 vessels were boarded, nine attempted attacks, four vessels hijacked, and two were fired upon.
IMB urged caution for crew safety as the number of crew taken hostage and kidnapped increased from 41 to 73 and from two to 14 in 2022 and 2023 respectively. A further 10 crew were threatened, four injured and one assaulted in 2023.
Michael Howlett, director of IMB said: “This is a cause for concern and the IMB is once again calling for all masters and vessel owners to continue following the recommendations and reporting procedures as per the latest version of the Best Management Practices,” adding that the incident demonstrates the continued capabilities of the Somali pirates.
The report stated that there were three of four reported vessel hijackings in the Gulf of Guinea.
Despite the continued restraint in the number of reported incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, with 22 in 2023 compared to 19 in 2022, 35 in 2021, and 81 in 2020, these waters accounted for three of the four globally reported hijackings, all 14 crew kidnappings, and 75 percent of reported crew hostages and two injured crew in 2023 – continuing to be dangerous waters for seafarers.