PIRACY attacks have increased in the Singapore Straits over the past year; the Piracy Reporting Centre has recorded the highest number of incidents in the past three decades.

The latest annual report from the International Maritime Bureau said the 35 reported incidents against vessels in the region in 2021 marked a 50% increase from 2020.

Vessels were boarded in 33 of these incidents, most of which were considered opportunistic threats. However, two crew were injured in two separate cases, one of which was assaulted and the other injured.

Thirteen incidents in the Singapore Straits reportedly involved knives, and two involved guns.

Shifting focus to the Indonesian Archipelagic, the IMB report highlighted the efforts of the Indonesian Marine Police, who had maintained reduced levels of incidents in the region.

The number of reports received in 2021 had dropped from 26 to nine in 2020, which is the lowest since 1993.

Of the reported incidents, four occurred off Jakarta. Knives were reported in at least five incidents, in which one crew was threatened.

Further abroad, the report noted piracy hotspot the Gulf of Guinea continued to account for all piracy-related kidnapping incidents globally, with 57 crew taken in seven separate incidents.

The piracy situation off the Somali coast is reportedly improving, but attacks at ports in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, and Haiti are increasing.

Globally, in 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre received a total of 132 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships.

Incidents comprised 115 vessels boarded, 11 attempted attacks, five vessels fired upon, and one vessel hijacked.

IMB director Michael Howlett said, “While the overall reduction in globally reported incidents is welcomed, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre 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 .

“The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre remains committed to actively engage and exchange information with coastal states to promote safety for seafarers and trade.”

IMB encourages all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted, and suspected piracy and armed robbery incidents to the Piracy Reporting Centre as a step toward ensuring adequate resources are allocated by authorities to address maritime piracy.