.Gulf of Guinea

By Evelyn Usman

For the first time in 17years, the Gulf of Guinea and the Nigerian waters recorded the lowest piracy drop, in the first nine months of the year 2021.

This was disclosed by a report released this week by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.

However, at  the other end of the scale, one crew member was killed, 51   kidnapped and  eight taken hostage

 The latest piracy report from  IMB revealed that  85 vessels were  boarded with nine attempted attacks.  Also, two vessels were shot at and one hijacked.

A breakdown of  piracy incidents   showed that the Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 incidents of  and armed robbery between January and September 2021, as against  46  recorded for the same period in 2020.

Notably, Nigeria reported only four, compared to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018. Crew kidnappings in the region dropped with a  crew member kidnapped in the  period under review, as against  31 in five separate incidents during the same quarter in the preceding year.

 “All 2021 quarter three incidents were against vessels at port anchorages and the average successful kidnapping location was 100 nautical miles from land.

“The overall reduction of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region bears testament to enhanced maritime security and response coordination measures adopted by regional and national authorities,”  IMB stated

The IMB statement however, made  no mention of piracy incidents such as  kidnappings, violence against crew or hijackings on the east coast of the continent off Somalia including the Horn of Africa.

But going further east, it  noted  20 armed robbery incidents in the Singapore Straits, the highest since last year and four up ,on the 2019 number. ]

It described the attacks as  low level and opportunistic in nature , noting  that  perpetrators posed a direct threat to seafarers and vessels underway.

Furthermore it stated that in four incidents, crew were threatened, assaulted or injured.

“There was also a noticeable reduction in incidents reported from Indonesian waters. The six reported in the first nine months of this year is the lowest in Indonesian water since 1993”, it stated.

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