Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Record‐low hijackings yet danger persists in Gulf of Guinea, shows
latest global piracy report
By 29 October a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships had been reported to the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.
The 2018 figure is broken down as: 107 vessels boarded, 32 attempted attacks, 13 vessels fired upon and four vessels hijacked—although no vessels were reported as hijacked in the third quarter of 2018. This is first time since 1994 when no vessel hijackings have been reported in two consecutive quarters.
Nevertheless, incidents of this crime persist, with the number of crew members held hostage increasing in comparison to the same period in 2017—from 80 incidents to 112 by the third quarter of 2018.
Of these figures Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, commented: ‘While the record low number of hijackings in the second and third quarters of 2018 is of course to be celebrated, incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery remain common. ICC urges governments to leverage the timely data available from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre to concentrate resources in these hotspots.’
Shifting piracy trends in the Gulf of Guinea
Statistically, the Gulf of Guinea accounts for 57 of the 156 reported incidents. While most of these incidents have been reported in and around Nigeria (41), the Nigerian Navy has actively responded and dispatched patrol boats when incidents have been reported promptly. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of vessels boarded at the Takoradi anchorage, in Ghana.
It is noted that 37 of the 39 crew kidnappings for ransom globally have occurred in the Gulf of Guinea region, in seven separate incidents. A total of 29 crew members were kidnapped in four separate incidents off Nigeria—including a 12‐crew kidnapping from a bulk carrier off Bonny Island, Nigeria in September 2018.
In other regions of the world incidents of piracy and armed robbery are comparatively seldom. No new incidents have been reported off the coast of Somalia in the third quarter of 2018, while two fishermen were reported kidnapped off Semporna, Malaysia in September 2018.
Incidents in the remaining regions, including some Latin America countries, border on low level opportunistic theft. Nevertheless, the IMB continues to encourage all masters and crew members to be aware of these risks and report all incidents to the 24‐hour manned PRC. The Centre will ensure that reported incidents are relayed without delay to the appropriate response agency and will liaise with the ship, its operators and the response agency until the vessel is deemed safe.
Since 1991, the IMB’s PRC has provided the maritime industry, governments and response agencies with timely and transparent data on piracy and armed robbery incidents—received directly from the master of the vessel or its owners. The IMB PRC’s prompt forwarding of reports and liaison with response agencies, its broadcasts to shipping via Inmarsat Safety Net Services and email alerts to company security officers—all provided free of cost—have helped the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers globally.
IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB PRC. This first step in the response chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy. Transparent statistics from an independent, non‐political, international organisation can act as a catalyst to achieve this goal.
The full report can be requested here: https://www.icc-ccs.org/index.php/piracy-reporting-centre/request-piracy-report
About the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the world’s largest business organization with a network of over 6.5 million members in more than 130 countries. We work to promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation through a unique mix of advocacy and standard setting activities—together with market leading dispute resolution services. Our members include many of the world’s largest companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.
See also: www.iccwbo.org
On 13 November speaking in Tokyo on behalf of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), its Chairman, Esben Poulsson, highlighted serious concerns about the challenge presented by the United States.
In his words: ‘To the proven benefits of multilateralism and the existing global trading order underpinned by a system of international rules and norms which has brought peace and prosperity since World War Two’.
He added: ‘The view that international trade can be seen as some kind of zero sum game is demonstrably false.’
Poulsson acknowledged that the US has legitimate concerns about the policies of some of its trading partners, concerns which to some extent ICS also shares, particularly with regard to China and South Korea’s possible contribution towards overcapacity in shipping.
The IMO regulation that sets out preventive security measures on detecting and deterring threats to ships and port facilities – the ISPS Code* – was the subject of a training workshop that took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 5-9 November.
This workshop was initiated as a means of assistance to potential Designated Authority (DA) and Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) to improve their knowledge of how to implement the relevant provisions in the ISPS Code and SOLAS Chapter XI-2. This followed a national maritime security workshop on design and conduct of drills and exercises organized for Trinidad and Tobago by IMO last year, the outcomes of which are being addressed in part by this new workshop.