There were 121 crew members kidnapped on ships attacked in the Gulf of Guinea in 2019, representing a more than 50 percent increase despite global trends that saw a decline in overall piracy incidents.
“This equates to over 90 percent of global kidnappings reported at sea with 64 crew members kidnapped across six separate incidents in the last quarter of 2019 alone,” said the International Maritime Bureau. The IMB issued its annual report on Tuesday.
The region accounted for 64 incidents including all four vessel hijackings that occurred in 2019, as well as 10 out of 11 vessels that reported coming under fire.
“These latest statistics confirm the importance of increased information exchange and coordination between vessels, reporting and response agencies in the Gulf of Guinea Region,” said Michael Howlett, director of IBM, a service of the International Chamber of Commerce.
“Without the necessary reporting structures in place, we will be unable to accurately highlight the high-risk areas for seafarers and address the rise of piracy incidents in these persistently vulnerable waters.”
There were 162 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide, in comparison to 201 reported incidents in 2018.
Somalia reported no piracy incidents, but the IBM advises caution when traveling through the once-notorious region. “Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean,” the report said.