Just over a week ago, One Earth Future published their annual Stable Seas program report detailing the state of global maritime piracy for the 9th year.
Surprising findings include the fact that for the first year the Western Indian Ocean reported no hijackings including Somania, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. While these areas still hold large potential piracy risks and the pirate groups themselves retain their capabilities, this vast improvement is a result of international agencies, communities and maritime authorities preventing pirate groups from having safe haven.
In the past twelve months, we’ve also seen widespread implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP5) as well as greater efforts from the European Union Naval Force and the Combined Naval Forces in deterring attacks in the region.
Asia remained mostly unchanged from 2017 thanks to cooperative efforts between navies and law enforcement groups however it remains the second most prevalent region. Latin America and Caribbean based incidents increased by up to twenty percent.
Perhaps most surprising of all the data collected was that the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Nigeria was the most affected by piracy and maritime robbery in 2018, increasing by fifteen percent over 2017.
In 2018, pirates in the Gulf of Guinea extended their range of attacks in the region, making attacks highly unpredictable. Hijacking for cargo theft, hijacking to ransom ship and crew, kidnap for ransom, and armed robberies on vessels as well as a combination of these were reported in 2018. Attacks with the intent to hijack vessels or kidnap crew were violent.
Overall, this trend is set to continue. With so much focus historically been on East Africa and the Gulf of Aden, this area is fairly secure given the presence of foreign naval fleets and interventions leaving West Africa a viable piracy location, particularly due the oil rich nations and oil, gas and extraction projects taking place in such a close vicinity using the Gulf of Guinea as an ideal port for departure.
The complete report can be viewed and downloaded from the Stable Seas website, here.