The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) received the lowest number of reported piracy incidents for the first half of any year since 1994.

IMB’s latest global piracy report details 58 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first half of 2022 – down from 68 incidents during the same period last year. In the first six months of this year, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 55 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks and one vessel hijacked. 

IMB director, Michael Howlett, said: “Not only is this good news for the seafarers and the shipping industry it is positive news for trade which promotes economic growth. But the areas of risk shift and the shipping community must remain vigilant. We encourage governments and responding authorities to continue their patrols which create a deterrent effect.” 

Of the 58 incidents, 12 were reported in the Gulf of Guinea, 10 of which were defined as armed robberies and the remaining two as piracy. 

While the reduction in reported incidents is indeed encouraging, the IMB PRC cautioned against complacency – vessels were boarded in 96 percent of the reported incidents. Despite no crew kidnappings reported during this period, violence against and the threat to crews continues with 23 crew taken hostage and a further five crew threatened. 

Vessels continue to be targeted and boarded by local perpetrators when transiting the Singapore Straits, which account for over 25 percent of all incidents reported globally since the start of the year. The Indonesian archipelagic has also seen a slight increase in reported incidents for the first time since 2018, with seven incidents being reported compared to five over that same period last year. 

Although no incidents were reported there since the start of the year, the threat of piracy still exists in the waters off the southern Red Sea and in the Gulf of Aden, which include the Yemeni and Somali coasts. Although the opportunity for incidents has reduced, IBM said that Somali pirates continue to possess the capability and capacity to carry out incidents, and all merchant ships are advised to adhere to the recommendations in the latest best management practices while transiting in these waters.