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            december 05, 2019

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Gulf of Guinea world's worst hotbed of pirates


The International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) recorded worldwide 78 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first half of the year, down from 107 incidents last year. In total 57 vessels were boarded successfully and pirates killed one person.
Of the 75 seafarers taken hostage on board or kidnapped for ransom globally in the first six months of the year, 62 were seized in the Gulf of Guinea - off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon, making West Africa the world's most dangerous region for piracy.
Some 73 per cent of all kidnappings at sea, and 92 per cent of hostage-takings, happened in the Gulf of Guinea. In these waters, armed pirates kidnapped 27 crew members in the first half of 2019, up from 25 in the same period in 2018, reported London's Tanker Operator.
Two chemical tankers were hijacked, as well as a tug that was then used in another attack. Of the nine vessels fired upon worldwide, all except for one occurred off the coast of Nigeria.
However, the IMB PRC reported "a welcome and marked decrease" in attacks in the Gulf of Guinea in the second quarter of this year and praised the Nigerian navy for actively responding to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats. The IMB recorded 21 incidents around Nigeria in the year to date, down from 31 year on year.
Around Indonesia, information-sharing co-operation between the Indonesian marine police and the IMB PRC continued to reap positive results. The 11 incidents reported in Indonesian waters was the lowest second quarter figure since 2009, when three incidents were reported.
A vessel was fired upon in the Guayas river after departing from Guayaquil, marking the first time an incident involving the firing of weapons was reported to the IMB PRC in Ecuador.
Elsewhere in South America, incidents of violent armed theft against ships at anchor were reported in Callao in Peru, Jose terminal in Venezuela and Macapa in Brazil.

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