Many pirate attacks in the Americas go unreported

The ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) latest piracy report is recording more incidents in new areas of Latin America, but says many further attacks go unreported, making the problem more difficult to tackle.

The four attacks that were reported in Mexico all targeted offshore vessels, and all happened within a span of 11 days in April. 

One anchored accommodation barge was boarded by six people wearing face masks and armed with automatic weapons and pistols. They attempted to enter, and opened fire, injuring a crewmember and damaging three windows.

The Master raised the alarm, sent a distress message, informed the Chief Security Officer, and the crew mustered in the citadel. The incident was reported to the Marine Control via VHF Ch16 and a naval boat was dispatched, but the attackers escaped with the barge’s high value project equipment.

Incidents continue to be reported off Callao anchorage, Peru. Meanwhile, vessels off neighboring Ecuador have recorded incidents each year since 2017, with at least three container ships attacked while underway in Q2 2020. In one case, two crew were taken hostage for the duration of the robbery and in another the perpetrators fired on the ship when they were unable to gain access. 

Globally, in total, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 98 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first half of 2020, up from 78 in Q2 2019. 

Image credit: G-Valeriy / Shutterstock.com

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