Friday, February 16, 2018

Report States Global Piracy Against Cargo and Other Vessels Decreased Last Year

Risks Remain However - Sometimes in Unexpected Regions
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Control Risks, has recorded a 5% decrease in global maritime security incidents in 2017, compared to results from 2016, according to data logged in the risk consultancy's specialist online maritime platform. This was driven by significant declines in maritime piracy against cargo and other vessels in both the Gulf of Guinea and South-East Asia. While the Gulf of Guinea experienced a 9% decrease in incidents compared with 2016, the region still saw higher levels of piracy than seven of the previous 10 years. South-East Asia saw a similar decline, partly due to the successful efforts of the Philippine military against the militant Abu Sayyaf Group on land, which have reduced their capabilities to kidnap victims at sea.

This global decrease in maritime security incidents has occurred despite the notable spike in Somali pirate activity in the Horn of Africa region, and the on-going conflict in Yemen. The conflict in Yemen contributed to a growing trend of incidents in the southern Red Sea and Bab-el Mandeb strait, where some vessels have been targeted in terrorist attacks and others have reported and increasing amount of suspicious activity. Cormac McGarry, Maritime Risk Analyst at Control Risks commented:

“We have seen substantial decreases in the two most recognised piracy hot spots, the Gulf of Guinea and South-East Asia. But both regions continue to record very high levels of piracy. Nigerian piracy for instance, which continues to dominate the Gulf of Guinea’s statistics, is not on a sustained downward trend. While the first half of 2017 was relatively quiet, the second half of the year saw the highest levels of piracy ever recorded for that period in the Gulf of Guinea.

“Globally, maritime security incidents have been decreasing over the past three years according to data in our online platform, but this should not allow for complacency. We recorded a similar downward trend to the period 2011-13 (which followed the decline of Somali piracy), but that global trend did not last as activity eventually picked up in other regions. Similarly, the decreases in the Gulf of Guinea and South-East Asia in 2017 were largely replaced by significant spikes off the Horn of Africa, Yemen and – interestingly – Venezuela: a situation which has not received much international attention, but that we are closely monitoring in 2018.”

Photo: An armed Abu Sayyaf band with four captives. Three of the men held were later reported to have made their escape.