IMO: Global and regional piracy trends in 2022

International Maritime Organization (IMO) has released its Annual Report on acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships where piracy incidents are documented and examined globally and regionally.

The paper focuses on a summary of reports on incidents received between 1 January and 31 December 2022, including acts of piracy, acts of armed robbery against ships and attempted attacks. The data is based on information made available in IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) module on piracy and armed robbery.


131 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to the Organization as having occurred or been attempted in 2022. In 2021, 172 incidents were reported, whereas the number was 229 incidents in 2020. This, therefore, constitutes a decrease of about 24% at the global level compared to last year, and the lowest number of reported incidents at the global level since 1995. To remind, IMB piracy report also recorded the lowest levels since the 90’s.

Areas from most to least affected:

  • Straits of Malacca and Singapore (72 incidents)
  • West Africa (21 incidents)
  • South America (Pacific)3 (14 incidents)
  • Indian Ocean (9 incidents)
  • South America (Atlantic) (6 incidents)
  • South America (Caribbean) (4 incidents)
  • South China Sea (4 incidents)
  • Arabian Sea (1 incident).
Credit: IMO

Gulf of Guinea

The number of incidents that took place in the Gulf of Guinea decreased in 2022 by 17 compared to 2021, when 38 incidents were reported. This constitutes a decrease of about 45%. The number of incidents involving hostage/kidnapped crew decreased by 5 to 2 incidents in 2022, with a total of 14 crew members reported as hostage/kidnapped.

Straits of Malacca and Singapore

The number of incidents increased to 72 from 70 incidents reported in 2021. About 81% of the incidents reported in 2022 were targeting a steaming ship in these Straits.

South China Sea

The number of incidents decreased by 11 from 15 incidents reported to the Organization in 2021. This represents a decrease of 73%, a decreasing trend of incidents in this region since 2013, when 142 incidents were reported.

Latin American and the Caribbean

The number of incidents taken overall decreased by 15 from 39 incidents reported in 2021. This total includes incidents in the Latin America Pacific region which remain at a level of 14 incidents, down by 6 from 2021, whereas the Caribbean region is down by 12 incidents to 4 incidents in 2022. The Latin America Atlantic region has seen an increase from 3 incidents in 2021 to 6 incidents in 2022.

West Africa

The data reveals that the total number of crew reported as taken hostage/kidnapped in 2022 remains at 24 crew members, and this is a decrease from 48 crew members held hostage/kidnapped in 2021. Around 58% of the crew members were reportedly taken hostage/kidnapped in incidents in West Africa in 2022.

Total number 

The total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to the Organization as having occurred or having been attempted from 1984 to the end of December 2022 has risen to 8,718.

Credit: IMO