An EU Naval Force boarding team approaches the MT Aris 13 after it was released by Somali pirates four days after being hijacked off the coast of Somalia. Photo: EU EUNAVFOR
Pirates and armed robbers on the high seas attacked 43 ships and captured 58 crew in the first quarter of 2017, a slight increase from the same period last year, according to a report published this week by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre.
The quarterly report highlights continued violence in piracy hotspots off Nigeria and around the Southern Philippines – where two crew members were killed in February. Indonesia also reported frequent incidents, mostly low-level thefts from anchored vessels.
Armed pirates off the coast of Somalia hijacked two vessels, marking the first hijacking of merchant ship in the area since May 2012. Four attempted incidents were also reported.
In total, 33 vessels were boarded and four fired upon in the first three months of 2017.
Other incidents for 2017 include:
- Of the 27 seafarers kidnapped worldwide for ransom between January and March 2017, 63% were in the Gulf of Guinea
- Off the coast of Nigeria, where the majority of kidnappings occur, a total of 17 were crew taken in three separate incidents, up from 14 in the same period last year
- Southern Philippines – nine ships reported attacks in the first quarter of 2017 compared with just two in the same period last year. These include an armed attack on a general cargo vessel in which two crew were killed and five kidnapped for ransom. Kidnappers captured five more people in attacks on a fishing trawler and a tug.
- Somali pirates successfully hijacked a small bunkering tanker and a traditional dhow, both within their territorial waters. A total of 28 crew were taken hostage and subsequently released within a relatively short time.