A new report from the International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has found that piracy and armed robbery at sea has been reduced to its lowest levels since 1995.
The decreasing trend has been witnessed in the wake of an increase in kidnappings off West Africa.
As per IMB's global piracy report, 98 incidents were reported in the first half of this year against 134 such cases reported during the same period last year.
During its peak level in 2010 and 2003, IMB recorded 445 attacks in the sea per year.
In the first half of this year, IMB registered 72 vessels boarded, five hijackings, and another 12 attempted attacks. During the period, nine ships were fired upon.
The same period has also witnessed the onboard hostage of 64 crew members, which is a drop from 250 in the same period last year.
International Maritime Bureau director Pottengal Mukundan said: "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.
"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.”
It is also noted that though the rate of sea piracy is improving, kidnapping rates are also increasing simultaneously, with 44 crews captured for ransom in this year, 24 of them in Nigeria, up from ten in the first half of last year.
IMB reported that the Gulf of Guinea accounted for seven of the world's ten kidnapping incidents, with armed gangs boarding vessels 30NM to 120NM from shore.
Nigerian attacks also account for eight of the nine vessels fired upon worldwide.
Many assaults go unreported by shipowners.
IMB noted that its piracy reporting centre has been working closely with the Indonesian authorities to improve security at sea and in ports.
Introduction of designated anchorages with enhanced security has contributed to a decrease in ship theft at anchor.
In Indonesia, the technology has helped in reducing the number of ship thefts from 54 occurred in the first six months of last year to 24 during the same period this year.
Image: A poster showing the new IMB report statistics. Photo: courtesy of ICC Commercial Crime Service.