While piracy has been declining off Africa’s East Coast where an international fleet of navy and coast guard ships patrol and guard the shipping lanes, West Africa is a different story. Here’s an up-to-date report from the website Noonsite.
A surge in armed attacks against ships around West Africa is pushing up global levels of piracy and armed robbery at sea, warns the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
MB’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 66 incidents in the first quarter of 2018, up from 43 for the same period in 2017, and 37 in Q1 2016.
Worldwide in the first three months of 2018, 100 crew were taken hostage and 14 kidnapped from their vessels. A total of 39 vessels were boarded, 11 fired upon and four vessels hijacked. IMB received a further 12 reports of attempted attacks.
The Gulf of Guinea accounts for 29 incidents in 2018 Q1, more than forty percent of the global total. Of the 114 seafarers captured worldwide, all but one were in this region.
All four vessels hijackings were in the Gulf of Guinea, where no hijackings were reported in 2017. Two product tankers were hijacked from Cotonou anchorage in mid-January and early February, prompting the IMB PRC to issue a warning to ships and other vessels. Towards the end of March, two fishing vessels were hijacked 30nm off Nigeria and 27nm off Ghana. Read more.