Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Act of War Excluded from Pirate and Maritime Crime Report

Criminal Attacks at Sea Generally Down
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Dryad Maritime has reported cautious optimism after releasing its latest maritime crime analysis which shows an overall reduction of attacks at sea across the world’s traditional ‘hot spots’. The Gulf of Guinea, South East Asia and The Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) have all seen a significant reduction of reported maritime crime against merchant shipping throughout July, August and September of this year according to Dryad's Q3 analysis, though optimism should not pave the way for complacency as the recent attack off the coast of Yemen, technically an act of war as opposed to a crime, so not included in the analysis, will show.

Dryad Maritime reports that with the exception of the Sulu Sea, off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia, incidents of maritime crime in South East Asia are at their lowest since 2009 and in the Indian Ocean HRA there were no confirmed acts of piracy in Q3, with the last recorded incident of piracy reported on a merchant vessel there in 2014. In South East Asia, robbery tends to be the primary motive for the attacks in the area though 11 mariners continue to be held hostage in the Philippines.

In the Gulf of Guinea and within Nigeria’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) there has been a decrease in the frequency of attacks with a total of just four attacks against commercial shipping at sea off the Niger Delta since early July, this compares to 36 in the first six months of the year. The risk of piracy within a 150 nautical mile radius of Nigeria remains high, again with armed robbery a major tactic used by attackers and an increasing number of stowaways reported during this period.

Despite this quarter’s positive statistics, the analysis is released with the caveat that expectations for the remainder of the year, especially in relation to the Gulf of Guinea, should be tempered. Underreporting remains a great concern around the worldwide piracy hotspots. Ian Millen, Chief Operating Officer at Dryad Maritime, said:

“We have cause for some optimism on piracy and maritime crime, with a generally stable and improving situation in some areas balanced against some serious cause for concern in others. In the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, Somali piracy remains broadly contained and, in Southeast Asia, piracy is at its lowest level since 2009, with a 65% reduction when compared to this time last year. The bad news, however, is that 81 people have been kidnapped, 7 have been killed and 57 remain in captivity.

“Beyond piracy and maritime crime, the maritime domain poses other threats. From conflict situations ashore in Libya and Yemen, to the threat of anti-ship missiles in busy shipping lanes, as evidenced by recent incidents in the southern Red Sea, seafarers continue to trade and transit in some dangerous waters. The continuing humanitarian crisis of Mediterranean migration presents other pressures on the shipping industry and its seafarers; a situation in which ships’ crews have responded to admirably. But despite all of the global maritime risks, we should remember that those who are well-informed and well-prepared can continue to operate safely across the vast majority of the globe.”

Photo: An arms depot, believed bombed by Saudi Arabian military aircraft, explodes at the Jabal Hadeed military compound in the Yemeni city of Aden.