World Maritime threats

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Maritime threats: the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that 2020 saw an increase in global pirate activities; in 2020, pirates attacked a total of 195 ships worldwide including boarding 161 ships, hijacking three ships, and firing on 11; this activity is an increase from 162 incidents in 2019; in 2020, the number of hostages taken was 34, however, the number of seafarers kidnapped for ransom increased to 135 compared with 44 in 2019, with nearly all taken off West Africa

the EU naval mission, Operation ATALANTA, continues its operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean through 2022; naval units from Japan, India, and China also operate in conjunction with EU forces; China has established a logistical base in Djibouti to support its deployed naval units in the Horn of Africa

the Horn of Africa saw no pirate activities in 2020, down from two attacks in 2019; the decrease in successful pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa since the peak in 2007 was due, in part, to anti-piracy operations by international naval forces, the hardening of vessels, and the increased use of armed security teams aboard merchant ships; despite these preventative measures, the assessed risk remains high

West Africa remains the most dangerous area for piracy in the world with 98 attacks in 2020 compared to 132 in 2019, including all three hijackings and 9 of 11 ships fired upon; Nigerian pirates are very aggressive, operating as far as 200 nm offshore and kidnapping 130 mariners in 22 incidents accounting for over 95% of crew kidnappings world-wide; attacks against ships underway in the Singapore Straits continued to increase to 23 incidents in 2020; there were 26 attacks in Indonesian waters in 2020 compared to 25 in 2019, primarily to ships anchored or berthed; the majority of global attacks against shipping have occurred in the offshore waters of five countries - Nigeria, Indonesia, Philippines, Venezuela, and Bangladesh (2021)

Definition: This entry describes the threat of piracy, as defined in Article 101, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), or armed robbery against ships, as defined in Resolution A. 1025 (26) adopted on 2 December 2009 at the 26th Assembly Session of the International Maritime Organization. The entry includes the number of ships on the high seas or in territorial waters that were boarded or attacked by pirates, and the number of crewmen abducted or killed, as compiled by the International Maritime Bureau. Information is also supplied on the geographical range of attacks.

Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on Saturday, September 18, 2021

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