Gulf of Guinea: Vessel Hijackings Now More About Crew Ransoms than Tanker Cargoes, Says IMB

Tuesday July 26, 2016

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Monday said that an increasing number of vessels are being hijacked for crew ransoms rather than for tankers cargoes.

However, despite a surge in kidnappings off West Africa, overall piracy and armed robbery has declined to its lowest levels since 1995, IMB added.

"This drop in world piracy is encouraging news. Two main factors are recent improvements around Indonesia, and the continued deterrence of Somali pirates off East Africa," said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB.

"But ships need to stay vigilant, maintain security and report all attacks, as the threat of piracy remains, particularly off Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea."

44 crew are said to have been kidnapped for ransom so far in 2016, with 24 of those kidnappings having occurred off Nigeria - an increase from 10 in the first half of 2015.

IMB's global piracy report shows that 98 incidents occurred in the first half of 2016, compared to 134 during the same period in 2015, and 445 attacks in both 2010 and 2003, when piracy is said to have been at its highest.

During the first half of 2016, IMB reports that 72 vessels were boarded, five of which were hijackings, and another 12 were attempted attacks.

In April, IMB said that, while global piracy and armed robbery against ships had continued to fall, violence against vessels off the coast of West Africa was growing, with 44 seafarers kidnapped in the first four months of 2016.