Dryad Maritime, the UK-based maritime intelligence firm reports 41 seafarers were taken hostage during the first quarter of 2014 in a report released today.
The report notes however, that since the same period last year, rates of maritime crime or piracy incidents have slowed 13 percent across the major hotspots of the world such such the Horn of Africa, Gulf of Guinea and Southeast Asia.
The threat to the maritime and offshore industry continues to be very real however, particularly to those off the Niger Delta where six seafarers are still believed to be in captivity in Nigeria.
“The hijack of MT Kerala from its Angolan anchorage with a subsequent theft of 13,000 tons of gasoil off the Niger Delta, has demonstrated the increasingly significant reach of Nigerian based criminals,” notes Dryad. “These shock incidents made international headlines but across the Gulf of Guinea the media have failed to report the spate of incidents that has seen crew kidnapped and then released.”
Ian Millen, Dryad Maritime’s Director of Intelligence comments:
“This analysis gives cause for concern and serves as a reminder to all seafarers to remain vigilant and employ appropriate risk reduction measures in all high risk areas. Maritime criminals, from those off Nigeria to Somali pirates and those that operate in the archipelago of Southeast Asia remain very much in business and are capable of inflicting misery on seafarers. The first line of defence is to be aware of their presence and take measures to ensure that their criminal activities are countered”.
“Somali pirates have not been totally eradicated,” cautions Millen. “Armed attacks against MT Nave Atropos, south of Salalah in January and the Kenyan vessel, MV Andrea, close to the Somali coast in February have proved that broad containment of the threat does not mean it has been removed. On both occasions, the Somali attackers were only repelled by embarked armed security teams on the vessels concerned.”
“The Singapore Strait has attracted attention with a number of vessels boarded for robbery in the first quarter of the year; a spate of attacks that has coincided with a reduction of incidents in the anchorages off Pulau Nipah, possibly signaling a change of modus operandi for criminal gangs who may have shifted attention to boarding vessels that are underway,” notes Ian.
For a more in-depth look, please visit Dryad’s website.