Control Risks has issued their report for the state of global maritime security for 2016. The report records that there were a total of 540 incidents worldwide last year and that overall there has been a 21% decrease in global maritime security incidents. Much of this can be attributed to an 83% decrease in maritime hijacks globally in 2016 compared with 2015 which is due to a significant decline in hijackings for theft in South-east Asia and the Gulf of Guinea following improvements in regional law enforcement.
However in stark contrast to the decline in hijacks, maritime kidnaps increased by 44% globally in 2016, driven by an increase in the Gulf of Guinea compared with 2015, and a surge in offshore abductions in the Sulu and Celebes Seas.
Another evolving trend in 2016 was the significant increase in cases where militants or terrorists targeted port infrastructure, naval and commercial vessels or offshore platforms, with Libya and Yemen accounting for most of these. With the continuing conflict between the Saudi and Gulf Arab States and the Iranian-backed Houthi insurgency in Yemen seeing increasingly sophisticated methods being used in attacks on sea going vessels this is liable to be an area of major concern throughout 2017. Sebastian Villyn, Maritime Risk Analyst at Control Risks commented that:
“The trends seen globally in 2016 highlight the dynamic nature of groups engaged in offshore crime. The interplay between sociopolitical developments onshore and the frequency of offshore crime was particularly visible in the Gulf of Guinea, and it was also telling how assailants in different regions are responding to security measures, or lack thereof, for instance in South-east Asia. Despite an overall global decrease in maritime security incidents, high-severity cases of maritime terrorism and kidnaps increased. These trends are likely to continue and pose a significant threat to maritime operators in 2017. Operators should therefore ensure that they have access to reliable and up-to-date information on the current threat landscape."