Thursday, 4 May 2017
Piracy, Kidnapping on Ships in West African Waters Rise - Report
A recent spate of attacks off Somalia, meanwhile, may also indicate a resurgence of piracy in East Africa as a result of less vigilance, the Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) project said.
OBP, a project of the privately funded One Earth Future Foundation that encourages cooperation across the international maritime community to tackle piracy, recorded 95 attacks in West Africa's Gulf of Guinea in 2016, up from 54 the previous year.
Cargo theft, once the main focus of piracy in the region, has given way to an increase in kidnappings, with 96 crew members taken hostage compared to 44 in 2015.
OBP estimated the total economic cost of maritime crime in West Africa at nearly $794 million.
"One of the reasons we are observing increased incidents of kidnap for ransom is that the model offers financial gain with less risk to the perpetrators than hijacking for cargo theft," said Maisie Pigeon, one of the authors of the OBP report.
Only one successful hijacking - the product tanker Maximus, which was attacked in February off Abidjan, Ivory Coast and then sailed to Nigeria - was recorded in West Africa by OBP in 2016.
"Nigeria ... experienced a spike in attacks, including 18 kidnap for ransom attacks between March and May," it said. "Analysts suggest that this pattern is closely linked to militant attacks against the oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta."
West Africa has emerged as the world's epicentre for piracy in recent years after increased patrolling by international navies and ramped up on-board security largely succeeded in suppressing hijackings off the Horn of Africa.
Culled from: Reuters