The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed a rise in reported incidents in the Gulf of
Guinea and concerns for the Singapore Straits in its latest report for the period of January-September
2023, released today.
Ninety-nine incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in the first nine months
of 2023, an increase from 90 incidents for the same period in 2022.
This year, 85 vessels were boarded, nine had attempted attacks, three were hijacked and two were
fired upon. Perpetrators successfully boarded 89% of targeted vessels with most incidents occurring
Even though reported violence towards crew members is amongst the lowest in three decades, the
risk to crew remains real with 69 taken hostage, 14 kidnapped, eight threatened, three injured and
IMB Director Michael Howlett said:
“The Gulf of Guinea stands as a region of concern with a rise in reported incidents, as opposed to the
downward trend we have seen in the past two years. The IMB sees regional ownership as critical to
safeguard shipping and trade and to address these crimes.”
Increase in incidents for Gulf of Guinea
Reported incidents increased in the Gulf of Guinea in the first nine months of 2023, from 21 compared
to 14 for the same period in 2022. Seventeen were classified as armed robberies and four as piracy
with a mounting concern for crew as 54 were taken hostage, 14 kidnapped and two were injured.
Worrying signs in the Singapore Straits
The Singapore Straits continues to raise concerns with 33 reported incidents in the first nine months
of 2023 compared to 31 in the same period last year. Overall, 31 vessels were boarded with five crew
taken hostage and two threatened with 25% of incidents reported in July. In most cases, ship stores
or properties were reported stolen.
Considering the navigational challenges of the Singapore Straits, even low-level opportunistic
incidents, could potentially increase the risk to safe navigation in these congested waters.
IMB also expresses concern over the risks of late or under reporting of these incidents and commends
local authorities for investigating nearly all reported incidents.
“We encourage reporting any incident, even low-level opportunistic ones, to local authorities as early
as possible to protect seafarers and ensure the safety of regional and international shipping and
trade,” said Mr Howlett.
Rise in incidents in Indonesian Archipelago and South America
The IMB recorded an increase in the number of incidents in the Indonesian archipelagic region, with
12 incidents reported compared to 10 for the same period in 2020 and seven in 2021. Knives were
sighted in five out of the 12 reported incidents.
Reports from Callao Anchorage in Peru have increased to 13 from eight in the same period in 2022,
with reports of nine crew taken hostage and one member threatened and another assaulted.
Request a copy of the 2023-January to September- Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships report
About the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre
Since its founding in 1991, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre serves as a crucial, 24-hour point of contact
to report crimes of piracy and lend support to ships under threat. Quick reactions and a focus on
coordinating with response agencies, sending out warning broadcasts and email alerts to ships have
all helped bolster security on the high seas. The data gathered by the Centre also provides key insights
on the nature and state of modern piracy.
IMB encourages all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected global
piracy and armed robbery incidents to the Piracy Reporting Centre as a vital first step to ensuring
adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle maritime piracy.
About the International Chamber of Commerce
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the institutional representative of more than 45
million companies in over 170 countries. ICC’s core mission is to make business work for everyone,
every day, everywhere. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, we
promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation, in
addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Our members include many of the
world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.