Global Piracy Incidents on the Rise in 2023, Defying Previous Declines

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The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported an increase in piracy attacks globally during the first nine months of 2023, reversing a trend of decreasing activity. The Gulf of Guinea, the Callao anchorage in Peru, and the Singapore Strait and Southeast Asia are the primary hot spots for piracy, with a significant rise in the number of crew members being taken hostage. The number of incidents against ships worldwide increased by 10% compared to the same period in 2022, with a total of 99 attacks reported. The IMB noted that pirates have become more effective in their tactics, boarding 89% of the targeted vessels.

The incidents were evenly split between vessels that were anchored or underway, with only eight ships being attacked while at berth. The number of crew members taken hostage during these incidents nearly tripled, from 27 to 69, with some attacks being violent in nature. The Gulf of Guinea saw a rise in reported incidents, reaching 21 compared to 14 in the previous year, with Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and The Congo being the most affected regions. Southeast Asia remains the primary area for piracy attacks, with 53 out of the 99 reported incidents occurring in this region.

The IMB has called for regional efforts to safeguard shipping and trade, as the number of piracy incidents continues to rise. They also expressed concern over the risk of late or underreporting of incidents, emphasizing the importance of timely reporting for effective investigation and prevention.

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