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Less pirate attacks

Throughout the first quarter of the ongoing year, shipping companies reported 119 pirate attacks and armed raids to the Piracy Reporting Centre of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). This is less than the previous year. The German Flag offers seafarers and shipping companies comprehensive support with prevention and coping with piracy raids.

From January to September 2019, 95 ships were boarded, ten shot at, ten attacks were successfully warded off and four ships were hijacked according to the IMB. During the same time of the preceding year, shipping companies had reported 156 piracy attacks.

The Golf of Guinea is rated a high-risk area for piracy and armed raids. According to statements of the IMB, 86 percent of hostage-takings and almost 82 percent of abductions of crew members worldwide occur in this region. The IMB is especially concerned about the rising readiness to apply armed force. More about this on the website of the International Chamber of Shipping.


In its piracy report for the first half of 2019, the Federal Police of Germany elaborates on individual situations in the active zones. The authors of the report describe not only piracy occurrences but also existing protection measures in the areas concerned. During the first half of 2019, six ships of the German merchant fleet, also including ships temporarily flying a foreign flag, were attacked by pirates.

According to the Federal Police, piracy in Latin and South America is on the rise. In this context, the piracy report goes into detail about an attack on a German-flagged container ship in Ecuador in April. Close to the Isla Escalante, the ship was shot at from a speedboat. Another boat tried to attach a grappling hook to the side of the ship but failed. The attack was aborted. The coast guard and port authority were informed. No one was injured, but the ship was slightly damaged.

The German Flag offers seafarers and shipping companies information and support with prevention as well as with coping with stressful piracy experiences:

  • At www.deutsche-flagge.de/en under the heading "Security levels · Warning notes", there is current information about threatened sea areas, notices of security levels and guidance on recommended behaviour.
  • In its Piracy Prevention Centre, the maritime department of the Federal Police offers advice to German shipping companies on how to best avert piracy attacks. The police officers offer lectures, seminars and workshops on the topic as well as individual consultation and trainings.
  • The BG Verkehr offers their members quick and professional help with its "Trauma-Lotsen" who help to work through incidents of extreme magnitude such as the attack on a ship by pirates. In order to give advice and lend support to persons concerned as well as to their supervisors from member companies, the BG Verkehr has trained its staff as so-called "Trauma-Lotsen" (trauma pilots). These "Trauma-Lotsen" are locally available in the District Councils. They are contact person, can give competent advice, know of treatment options and suitable therapists.