lobal piracy rates have reportedly dropped to their lowest level since statistics first began in 2008, figures from the Maritime Information Cooperation and Awareness Centre (Mica) show.
The body’s French branch said there had been 300 acts of piracy and robbery reported in 2022 – a record low – but added that maritime security threats including smuggling and drug trafficking remained.
The Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which is due to release its annual statistics on Thursday, had already reported in its quarterly report in October that piracy was at its lowest level since 1992.
In the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, until recently considered among the world’s most dangerous for piracy, only three ships were pirated in 2022 compared to 26 in 2019.
The number of people kidnapped in the same area dropped from 146 in 2019 to two in the past year.
“It has never been so low,” Mica’s commander Eric Jaslin told the French news agency AFP, while warning: “You never know what tomorrow may bring in terms of piracy. We advise continued caution.
“Pirate groups are still present, but they have shifted to more lucrative and less risky actions.”
Researcher Katja Lindskov Jacobsen, from the University of Copenhagen, said in Mica’s report that many former pirates had turned to other activities such as illegal oil refining or transporting stolen crude.
Acts of robbery in territorial waters as opposed to piracy on the high seas therefore remain at a high level.
Created in 2016, Mica keeps a 24-hour watch on global maritime traffic. It has partnerships with more than 50 shipping companies.