Gulf of Guinea records sharp drop in piracy incidents in 2021: report

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LAGOS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Gulf of Guinea recorded 34 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery in 2021, a sharp drop from 81 in 2020, a global maritime body has said.

In its annual piracy report released on Thursday, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) attributed the drop in piracy incidents to increased presence of international naval vessels and cooperation between regional authorities.

"The IMB commends the robust actions of the international navies and regional authorities in the Gulf of Guinea which appear to have positively contributed to the drop in reported incidents and ensuring continued safety to crews and trade," said Michael Howlett, director of IMB, in the report.

However, the Gulf of Guinea remains the world's piracy hotspot. The report urges crews and vessels plying these waters to be cautious as the perpetrators remain violent and risk to crews remains high.

"While kidnappings at sea dropped 55 percent in 2021, the Gulf of Guinea continues to account for all kidnapping incidents globally, with 57 crew taken in seven separate incidents," said the report.

The decline of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea also led to the overall reduction in reported incidents in 2021 globally, said the report, adding in 2021, the IMB piracy reporting center received 132 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships across the world, the lowest recorded level since 1994.

Despite the fall of piracy activities, the global maritime body urges coastal states to acknowledge the inherent risk from piracy and armed robbery and robustly address this crime within the waters of their exclusive economic zone. Enditem

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