Maritime News

Warnings of piracy hotspots

5 May 2017

Seafarers should be aware of the current piracy hotspots identified by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). In its latest quarterly report, the IMB warns that the waters off West Africa, the Southern Philippines and Somalia have seen increasing numbers of pirate incidents.

The IMB reports that pirates and armed robbers attacked 43 ships and captured 58 seafarers in the first three months of 2017, slightly more than in the same period in 2016. 

Some of the incidents involved violent attacks on crew members, with two seafarers killed off the Southern Philippines in February. Pirates and armed robbers boarded 33 vessels and fired upon four during this period. Armed pirates also hijacked two vessels off the coast of Somalia – the first hijacks in these waters since 2012. 

The IMB highlights three major concerns: kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea, with Nigeria the main kidnap hotspot; growing violence around the Southern Philippines, with a rise in attacks on ships from two to nine between 2016 and 2017 (some of which might be due to militant activity); and the first Somali hijackings after a five-year lull. On the latter incidents, the IMB warns against complacency, “as Somali pirates are still capable of carrying out attacks". 

Other recent incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported to the IMB’s worldwide Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) include the following. 

  • Three robbers boarded a bulk carrier anchored at Tanjung Priok, Jakarta, Indonesia on 2 May, stole ship’s engine spares and escaped. 
  • Three robbers armed with knives boarded a cement carrier berthed at Pertigalete, Venezuela on 2 May. They escaped empty-handed after the alarm was raised and the crew mustered. 
  • Two robbers were spotted on board a tanker anchored at Chittagong, Bangladesh on 2 May. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered; the robbers escaped empty-handed.
  • Armed pirates boarded a cargo vessel around 47 nautical miles off Bonny Islands, Nigeria on 29 April. The alarm was raised and security procedures activated, and all crew retreated into the citadel. Following a report by the owners, the IMB PRC informed and liaised with the Nigerian Navy. The pirates damaged ship’s equipment, stole crew cash and belongings, and escaped before the naval team boarded the vessel to rescue the crew. 
  • Six armed men in a skiff chased and fired on a tanker around 5.7 nautical miles off the Somali coast on 22 April. The master raised the alarm and sent a distress message. The pirates chased the tanker for nearly two hours and then moved away due to evasive manoeuvres. One crew member was reported injured.


All attacks and suspicious sightings should be reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, tel: +603 2031 0014 (24 hours), email:


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