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  • Writer's pictureShaun Robertson

Do You Know Why Some Piracy Attacks Go Unreported?

In quarter 3 of 2022, IMB reported that 90 incidents of piracy took place. The rough figure for unreported attacks, which appears online, is 50%. However, this figure is disputed, with some estimates being higher and some being lower, which would roughly place the actual amount of attacks at 135. So the question is, why do piracy attacks go unreported? This article will explore the main reasons for the lack of reporting of piracy, discussing the effects on different types of people and vessels.



The main reason why up to 50% of piracy attacks go unreported arguably concerns fishermen. The reasons for this are numerous. For example, as fishermen operate locally, the fear of reprisals by pirates is much more apparent compared to international merchant shipping.



A lack of education may also be a reason for some attacks, as people are unaware of how to report or that they can report. Due to law enforcement not being as strong in some countries, some attacks may go unreported due to the belief that it will be of no real benefit and that nothing will be done to help. On top of this, some police departments in certain parts of the world may hide attacks to prevent showing that there is a problem and that they have things under control.


Finally, fishermen being involved in illegal fishing in foreign waters or marine reserves may also be a factor in a lack of reporting. Some may be partaking in other activities, such as smuggling or having illegal substances, so they do not want the police to know. Reports of attacks on fishermen range from all areas of piracy. Therefore, these attacks could be going on quite heavily without official knowledge.


As for merchant shipping, the main reason for not reporting would be reputational damage. If a small robbery can be handled internally within the company, this protects from potential reputational damage. Insurance premiums may rise, and companies might lose or struggle to get new business if an attack becomes public.



Furthermore, delays at port from investigations can affect the business more than paying out for some stolen items. This issue also extends to suspicious activity as there is a fear that some vessels may be legitimate fishermen, and investigations by authorities may also cause delays.


Overall, there are many reasons why piracy can go unreported. It is a problem for the industry as a lack of reporting does not accurately reflect the scale of the situation. As long as people's interests supersede the need to report incidents, the problem of underreporting will continue. As such, garnering awareness and support for responding to situations may be more demanding.


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