It also reports that following a steady drop in global piracy over the past few years, the number of attacks rose 10% globally over the same period in 2014. There have been no reports of piracy so far this year in the one-time hotspot of Somalia.
There were 54 incidents of piracy and armed robbery around the world in the first three months of 2015, according to IMB figures.
Southeast Asia accounts for 30, or 55%, of global incidents this year. Indonesia alone accounted for 21 incidents and Vietnam eight.
There have been 11 incidents in Africa, with seven occurring in Nigeria, eight in the Far East, three on the Indian subcontinent, one in America and one further across the rest of the world.
The 54 incidents saw 42 vessels boarded, 8 hijacked and 4 attempted attacks.
Pirates took 140 hostages worldwide in Q1, three times the number taken during the same period in 2014. A total of 13 seafarers were assaulted and three injured.
“The frequency of these hijackings in Southeast Asia is an increasing cause for concern. There’s a risk that the attacks and violence could increase if left unabated,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the IMB.
The IMB has recorded 23 ship hijackings in Southeast Asia since April 2014, with six taking place in the last three months. Armed gangs targeting small coastal tankers carried out most of the attacks. Five tankers and an offshore tug have been hijacked in the first quarter of 2015.
Indonesia has witnessed almost 40% of 2015’s attacks. But the IMB reports that the overwhelming majority of incidents are low-level, opportunistic thefts, although the attackers here are usually armed with knives, machetes or guns.
In Vietnam more and more thieves are breaking into ships at anchor in and around Hai Phong and Vung Tau.
West Africa is a hot spot for violent attacks. One man was killed in the hijacking of a fishing vessel off Ghana. Five crewmembers have been kidnapped by Nigerian pirates in two separate incidents, in addition to a small product tanker being reported hijacked.
The latest IMB Piracy Report shows zero incidents in Somalia during the first quarter of 2015. However, it advises shipmasters to follow the industry’s Best Management Practices because the threat of Somali piracy has not been totally eliminated.