Kidnappings in Nigeria, others create 44% global maritime crime surge

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Maritime kidnaps across the globe surged by 44 percent in 2016, in part driven by an uptick of activity in the Gulf of Guinea especially off Nigeria, and in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, according to Control Risks’ global maritime analysis.

Maritime hijacks were also down by 83% globally in 2016, driven by a decline in hijacks-for-cargo and hijacks-for-bunker theft in South-east Asia and the Gulf of Guinea following improvements in regional law enforcement.

“The downward trend in the Gulf of Guinea and South-east Asia will continue in 2017, as Nigerian and Indonesian naval forces respectively continue their targeting of organised criminal syndicates,” Control Risks informed.

Another evolving trend in 2016 was the significant increase in cases where militants or terrorists targeted port infrastructure, naval and commercial vessels or offshore platforms. Libya and Yemen accounted for most of these, with several high-profile attacks recorded.

“The trends seen globally in 2016 highlight the dynamic nature of groups engaged in offshore crime. The interplay between sociopolitical developments onshore and the frequency of offshore crime was particularly visible in the Gulf of Guinea, and it was also telling how assailants in different regions are responding to security measures, or lack thereof, for instance in South-east Asia,” Sebastian Villyn, Maritime Risk Analyst at Control Risks, said.

Villyn added that, despite an overall global decrease in maritime security incidents, high-severity cases of maritime terrorism and kidnaps increased.

“These trends are likely to continue and pose a significant threat to maritime operators in 2017. Operators should therefore ensure that they have access to reliable and up-to-date information on the current threat landscape,” Villyn said.