West African piracy attacks increase year to year, says ICB report

SINGAPORE-based Piracy Reporting Centre has posted 66 incidents armed
attacks on ships in West Africa in the first quarter of this year, up
from 43 for the same period last year, and 37 in the corresponding
quarter in 2016.

No containership incidents were reported. Instead, pirates focused on
product tankers at anchor to siphon off fuel cargo to be sold on the
black market or to kidnap crew for ransom.

Worldwide in the first quarter, 100 crew were taken hostage and 14
kidnapped from their vessels. A total of 39 vessels were boarded, 11
fired upon and four vessels hijacked, reported London's Tanker

The International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau
(IMB) received a further 12 reports of attempted attacks.

The Gulf of Guinea accounted for 40 per cent of the global total. Of
the 114 seafarers captured worldwide, all but one were reported in
this region.

All four vessels hijackings were in the Gulf of Guinea, where no
hijackings were reported in 2017. Two product tankers were hijacked
from Cotonou anchorage in mid-January and early February, prompting
the IMB PRC to issue a warning to ships.