The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has expressed concern over the growth of reported piracy incidents within the Gulf of Guinea waters in its 2023 mid-year report.

The survey also found an increase in events in the Singapore Strait, with a substantial 25% rise in recorded incidents in the waters compared to the same period from the previous year.

According to the IMB 2023 report, there were 65 occurrences of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first half of 2023, up from 58 events in the same period in 2022.

This study comes after the IMB recorded the lowest amount of reported global piracy and armed robbery occurrences since 1993 in Q1 2023, demonstrating its increase in Q2.

IMB director Michael Howlett highlighted the IMB’s concern over the increase of piracy incidents compared to previous years.

“The resurgence in reported incidents including hostage situations and crew kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea waters is concerning,” Howlett said

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“The IMB calls for continued, robust regional and international naval presence as a deterrent to address these crimes.”

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) stated that of the 65 recorded events, 57 vessels were boarded, four were attacked, two were hijacked, and two had been fired upon.  

Furthermore, 90% of the vessels targeted by perpetrators were successfully boarded.

The Gulf of Guinea saw a “concerning” surge in incidents in the first half of 2023, with five incidents reported in Q1 and nine in Q2.

Of these, 12 were classified as armed robberies and two as piracy, predominantly targeting anchored vessels in the region.

“We once again call on Gulf of Guinea regional authorities and the international community to refocus their attention on the region, to establish long-term, sustainable solutions that effectively address these crimes and protect the seafaring and fishing communities,” Howlett said.

The report follows the 2022 International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) strategy, aimed at ending piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea.

As reported by safety4sea, piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea has posed a severe threat to seafarers and local communities for over a decade.

The IMB report encourages all shipmasters and owners to report all suspected, attempted, and actual piracy and armed robbery occurrences to the piracy recording centre (PRC).