IMB urges vigilance as Somali piracy remains under control

Members of the Puntland Maritime Police Force on patrol for pirates near the village of Elayo, Somalia. The Puntland Maritime Police Force is a locally recruited, professional maritime security force. It is primarily aimed at preventing, detecting and eradicating piracy, illegal fishing, and other illicit activity off of the coast of Somalia, in addition to generally safeguarding the nation's marine resources. In addition, the Force provides logistics support to humanitarian efforts, such as re (Photo by jason florio/Corbis via Getty Images)
Members of the Puntland Maritime Police Force on patrol for pirates near the village of Elayo, Somalia. (Photo by jason florio/Corbis via Getty Images)

A global maritime body on Wednesday urged foreign vessels to remain vigilant as they transit the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden despite lull in piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia.

The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in its latest report that Somali piracy has remained under control with no incidents being recorded in the last two years.

“No incidents of piracy have been reported around Somalia since 2018,” the IMB said in its report for the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

The report says pirates in August freed the last three of the thousands of hostages who have been held captive in the region over the years since ship hijackings peaked in 2011.

Despite the decline, the global maritime body said as Somali pirates are still capable of carrying out further attacks.

IMB urged vessels to continue implementing the industry’s best management practices (BMP5), and encouraged the continued, stabilizing presence of navies in the region.

Across the world, the report shows a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2020, with a 40 percent increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea, compared with the same period in 2019.

The report details 132 attacks since the start of 2020, up from 119 incidents in the same period last year.

Of the 85 seafarers kidnapped from their vessels and held for ransom, 80 were taken in the Gulf of Guinea in 14 attacks reported off Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana.

In the first nine months of 2020, seafarers reported 134 cases of assault, injury and threats, including 85 crewmembers being kidnapped and 31 held hostage onboard their ships.

According to the report, a total of 112 vessels were boarded and six were fired upon, while 12 reported attempted attacks. Two fishing vessels were hijacked, both in the Gulf of Guinea.

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