Crew kidnapping on the rise in Gulf of Guinea

In contrast to the substantial numbers of reported incidents across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean in recent years, maritime crime now appears to have stabilised in these regions according to the latest Q2 maritime crime statistics released by the UK’s Dryad Maritime today.

There have been 34 incidents of maritime crime and piracy reported across Southeast Asia during the second quarter of 2016, taking the total for the first half of the year to 49. This is a 66% reduction for the half yearly total when compared to the first six months of 2015.

However, despite the global downturn, maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and Sulu Sea continues to give cause for concern with kidnap for ransom the main threat. The Gulf of Guinea is now widely regarded as the most dangerous region in the world for seafarers and was designated a Pirate Danger Area by Dryad Maritime in April this year. Since then the area has seen a continuation of high levels of piracy throughout the second quarter of the year. Indeed, April 2016 was the busiest month on record with 14 attacks occurring off the Niger Delta; resulting in the kidnap of 10 crew from three vessels as far as 110 NM from shore.

Ian Millen, coo at Dryad Maritime, commented: “The maritime crime picture at the half year point is very similar to the one we reported a few months ago. In some regions we continue to see significant progress as anti-piracy measures take effect and maritime crime de-escalates, but in others, violent crime and piracy continue. The Gulf of Guinea and Sulu Sea continue to give cause for concern with criminal gang and terrorist related kidnap respectively, but the situation in the wider Southeast Asia region is much better.”



Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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