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Global piracy plunges to 18-year low in 2016

Staff Writer | January 11, 2017
Global piracy reached its lowest level in 18 years in 2016, with the number of vessels hijacked falling from the previous year, ICC International Maritime Bureau said in its annual piracy report.
Global piracy
Life on sea   International Maritime Bureau:
There were 191 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships logged last year, compared with 202 incidents in 1998, and 246 incidents in 2015. Pirates hijacked seven vessels and held 151 crew hostage, though this was down from 15 ships and 271 hostages in 2015, Platts reports.

"The continued fall in piracy is good news, but certain shipping routes remain dangerous, and the escalation of crew kidnapping is a worrying trend in some emerging areas," said IMB's director Pottengal Mukundan.

More crew were kidnapped at sea last year off West Africa and in the Sulu Sea, with maritime kidnappings rising more than threefold to 62 people last year, compared with 19 in 2015.

"IMB advises charterers and owners to consider avoiding the Sulu Sea by routing vessels west of Kalimantan," said the bureau.

Indonesia remains one of the top five piracy hot spots with 49 incidents recorded in 2016, mostly low-level thefts, but this was markedly down from 108 in 2015.

The drop in piracy off Indonesia was likely due to its maritime police patrolling 11 hot spots, among which include Dumai, Belawan, Gresik, Bintan and Balikpapan.

Nigeria accounted for 36 incidents, up from 14 in 2015. These included nine of 12 vessels fired upon worldwide, some were almost 100 nautical miles from the coastline.

India accounted for 14 incidents, Peru 11 and the Philippines 10.

Together, these five countries made up 63% of 191 reported incidents of piracy and arm robbery logged last year.

Last year also saw kidnapping incidences at merchant ships plying around Malaysia and Indonesia.

Previously, only tugs and fishing vessels were targeted but lately merchant ships were also being attacked, IMB said.