Despite an increase in kidnappings off of West Africa, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports a 21-year low in piracy and armed robbery at sea directed toward commercial vessels. Incidents are down to 98 in the first half of 2016, a significant decrease from 134 in the same time period in 2015, according to IMB’s global piracy report. The report also shows that in the first half of 2016 only 64 crew members were taken hostage onboard, whereas the previous year saw 250 in the same period. "This drop in world piracy is encouraging news,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB. “Two main factors are recent improvements around Indonesia, and the continued deterrence of Somali pirates off East Africa”.
Although there has been an overall decrease in global piracy, kidnappings have increased in 2016 so far. Rather than stealing cargo, some pirates make their money by holding crew for ransom. Africa’s West Coast has been an active area for kidnappings, with more than half of reported global incidents being in Nigeria. Mukundan, director of IMB, says that regardless of improvements in world piracy “Ships need to stay vigilant, maintain security, and report all attacks, as the threat of piracy remains.”