Current reports indicate that 2022 was a safer year for vessels at risk of piracy throughout the world, but especially in the Indian Ocean. In spite of improvements in security and reductions in pirate attacks, people who make a living on ships still face serious risks of danger and harm.
Piracy Events Continue to Decline, But Vigilance Required
The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that piracy events continued to decline in 2022. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre collects information about piracy incidents and shares it with law enforcement, government agencies, and others.
According to the IMB, there were 115 incidents and fewer severe incidents in 2022. The maritime industry saw fewer piracy acts that involved armed pirates, kidnappings, and hijackings. There were 132 incidents in 2021.
European Union Extends Naval Force Operation Atalanta
The EU established Operation Atalanta in 2008 as piracy began to grow in the western part of the Indian Ocean. To date, the Operation has kept over 2,000 vessels and their crews safe in the region of the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.
It has been responsible for apprehending nearly 200 pirates and impounding over 12,000 kilograms of illegal drugs. They also ensured that food and aid could reach people in need.
The High-Risk designation for piracy assigned to Somalia and the Horn of Africa dropped on January 1. The EU still chose to extend its anti-piracy operation in the region to remain vigilant after the success of the program over the last decade and more.
Current High-Risk Areas for Piracy
The reduction in piracy in the Indian Ocean is a win for the maritime industry. However, there are still areas of the world where ships and their crews are at risk of being attacked.
Although all of Southeast Asia is a hot spot, the IMB considers the Singapore Strait to be the riskiest area based on 2022 incident information. This is the body of water south of Singapore that connects the South China Sea to the Strait of Malacca. Other areas of risk include Indonesia, Peru, Bangladesh, and Ghana.
The Dangers of Piracy for Maritime Workers
Anyone who works aboard an ocean-going vessel is at risk of being involved in a piracy incident. While the severity of the acts has decreased, there are serious potential dangers to workers.
Pirates aim to take over vessels and, if necessary, kidnap the crew in order to steal the cargo or collect a ransom. Piracy can become violent, leading to the crew being physically beaten or even shot. Pirates’ actions could cause a fire or explosion on a ship or even cause it to sink. Crew members can also suffer later in terms of mental health due to the trauma of the event.
Vessel owners, shipping companies, and crew can potentially be negligent in the harm caused during pirate attacks by failing to take necessary precautions, especially in high-risk areas. If you work on a ship and suffered harm during a pirate attack, you have legal options and could be entitled to compensation.