The IMB’s annual report noted an increase in piracy and armed robbery against ships, totaling 120 incidents in 2023 compared to 115 in the previous year. The report further revealed that 105 vessels were boarded, nine attempted attacks, four vessels hijacked and two fired upon. 

The number of crew members taken hostage and kidnapped witnessed a concerning spike, rising from 41 to 73 and from two to 14 (2022 to 2023) respectively. Additionally, 10 crew members were threatened, four injured, and one assaulted in 2023.

Key Findings from the IMB Report 2023

Successful Somali-Based Hijacking a Cause for Concern

A handymax bulk carrier off the coast of Somalia fell victim to hijacking on December 14, 2023, marking the first successful incident of its kind since 2017. This event, which also involved the hijacking of two dhows, underscores the persistent threat posed by Somali pirates.

IMB Director Michael Howlett expressed concern, urging all masters and vessel owners to adhere to the latest version of the Best Management Practices. He emphasized the incident as evidence of the continued capabilities of Somali pirates.

While the Gulf of Guinea reported a decline in incidents, it remains a dangerous area, accounting for three of the four globally reported hijackings, all 14 crew kidnappings, and 75% of reported crew hostages in 2023. Two crew members were injured in this region.

Oman's Asyad Shipping Poised for VLCC Newbuild Orders at Hanwha Ocean Oman's Asyad Shipping Poised for VLCC Newbuild Orders at Hanwha Ocean

Safety concerns persist in the Singapore Straits, the Malacca Straits, and the Indonesian archipelago due to the high number of reported incidents. The Singapore Straits reported a worrisome 95% success rate, with 37 incidents and nine crew taken hostage in 2023.

South America has also seen potential threats, with 14 incidents reported from vessels at Callao anchorage in Peru.

Total Incidents Per Region
IMB Director Howlett expressed concern over late reporting and underreporting by vessels, emphasizing the importance of timely incident reporting for an accurate understanding of risk.

The IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre, operated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), serves as a 24-hour point of contact for reporting piracy-related crimes and supporting threatened ships. The IMB urges all shipmasters and owners to report piracy and armed robbery incidents promptly, contributing to a more accurate assessment of the maritime piracy risk landscape.