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Pirates kidnap 40 crew in Q1 2021

Despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for Q1 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said that violence against crew was on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea. In its quarterly report on maritime piracy, IMB noted that since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew a year ago and one crew member was also killed in Q1 2021.

However, it noted that there was an overall decline in incidents in the first quarter of 2021. The bureau stated that while the number of reported piracy attacks against commercial shipping declined in 2021, violence against crew was on the rise with the Gulf of Guinea remaining the world’s piracy hotspot in 2021. According to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s Secretary General, John W.H. Denton: “Governments, businesses, and maritime response agencies must take appropriate measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of crew, so that we can ensure the uninterrupted free flow of goods throughout international supply chains.”

During the first three months of 2021, the bureau report explained that a total of 38 incidents compared with 47 a year ago. It said: “The major of incidents however remains boarding with 33 reported in 2021 and two more attempted. Two vessels also reported being fired upon and one was hijacked. The number of piracy assaults was nearly evenly split between 20 on vessels that were underway and 16 that were at anchor. Berthed vessels are far less likely to be targeted.”

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