The European Union (EU) has extended its anti-piracy naval patrols off Somalia until 31 December 2020. Operation Atalanta was set up to deter and prevent piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast, as well as protect World Food Program (WFP) and other vulnerable shipping, fishing activities and other EU programmes in the region.
Since the naval operation began and working in cooperation with other international forces, the scale of pirate incidents off Somalia has fallen dramatically, from 176 reported attacks in 2011 to nine in 2017 and none at all reported during the second quarter of 2018.
Meanwhile, incidents of piracy and armed robbery continue in several hotspots, with West African waters particularly at risk. The latest incidents reported to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) 24-hour worldwide Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) include the following.
- Five robbers armed with knives were spotted on board a bulk carrier anchored at Samarinda, Indonesia on 31 July. The alarm was raised and the robbers escaped with the stolen ship’s stores.
- Three robbers boarded a tanker anchored at Abidjan, Ivory Coast on 22 July. The alarm was raised and the robbers escaped with mooring ropes.
- Seven robbers in a small boat came alongside a tanker anchored at Lagos, Nigeria on 9 June. One robber boarded and was spotted. The alarm was raised and the robber escaped overboard.
- Robbers boarded a container ship berthed at Lagos, Nigeria on 1 June, and assaulted and injured the crew member on duty, who was later repatriated from the next port.
- Four robbers boarded a bulk carrier anchored at Lagos, Nigeria on 24 April. They took the duty watchman hostage, threatened him, and stole his mobile phone and VHF radio. The robbers were unable to steal any ship’s property and escaped.