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Pirate attacks down in Q1, IMB warns on increasing violence in West Africa

Pirate attacks down in Q1, IMB warns on increasing violence in West Africa
The number of pirate attacks worldwide continued to fall in the first quarter of 2016 but the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) warns of increasing violence in West African incidents.

In its first quarter report the IMB said that its Piracy Reporting Centre had reported 37 incidents piracy and armed robbery the first the three months of 2016 compared to 54 in the same period in 2015.

However, IMB flagged up increasingly violent attacks in the Gulf of Guinea with 44 seafarers either kidnapped or held hostage.

Nigeria and the Ivory Coast in the Gulf of Guinea accounted for two out of three hijackings in the first quarter with 28 seafarers taken hostage and a further 16 kidnapped from chemical and product tankers in four separate incidents. Off Nigeria there were 10 attacks involving guns.

“Reports in the last quarter indicate unacceptable violence against ships and crews in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly around Nigeria. The current increase in kidnappings is a cause for great concern,” said Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB.

The IMB said that armed groups had attacked vessels and their crews along the coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters – as well as up to 110nm out to sea in this area.