NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- More crew members were kidnapped at
sea worldwide in 2016 than in any year of the previous decade, despite global
piracy reaching its lowest levels since 1998, a report has said.
The International Chamber of
Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in its annual report
released on Tuesday that it recorded 191 incidents of piracy and armed robbery
on the world’s seas last year.
According to the report, 150 vessels
were boarded, 12 vessels fired upon and seven hijacked, while 22 attacks were
thwarted. The number of hostages fell to 151.
“The continued fall in piracy is good
news, but certain shipping routes remain dangerous, and the escalation of
crew kidnapping is a worrying trend in some emerging areas,” said the
The report said pirates kidnapped 62
people for ransom in 15 separate incidents in 2016. The maritime kidnappings
showed a threefold increase from those in 2015.
Over half of them were captured off
West Africa, while 28 were kidnapped from tugs, barges, fishing boats, and more
recently merchant ships, around Malaysia and Indonesia.
The IMB, which has monitored world
piracy since 1991, said the kidnappings in the Sulu Sea between East Malaysia
and the Philippines were a particular concern, calling on ships to stay vigilant
in high-risk areas.
In Somalia, the report says three crew
members are still being held by pirates, their conditions unknown. The IMB
recorded two attempted incidents in 2016 off the coast of Somalia.
“Attacks related to Somali pirates
have reduced. However, the risk of being approached or attacked still
exists,” the report said, urging foreign vessels not to be complacent as
they transit the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Analysts say the combined military
onslaught and a host of economic incentives targeting jobless Somalia youth have
dealt piracy a fatal blow.