The Lloyd’s List Podcast: The persistent problem of piracy
The Gulf of Guinea has been a persistent problem when it comes to maritime security and there is good reason to be concerned that 2019 is only going to get worse. This week’s podcast examines the security situation for shipping talking to Bimco’s head of security Jakob Larsen and Senior Maritime Analyst at Control Risks, Cormac Mc Garry.
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DESPITE the growing concern around the Gulf of Guinea, the rising risk off the west coast of Africa runs counter to the overall risk assessment for shipping this year — hijackings globally have steadily decreased over the past three years.
That trend has resulted in diminished counter-piracy operations on the east coast of Africa and an increasing unwillingness from shipowners to invest in costly armed security. But is the industry getting complacent when it comes to security?
Shipowners’ association BIMCO this week called on international governments to rekindle the counter piracy operations that so successfully saw off the Somali piracy threat, this time off the west coast of Africa.
Just two days into 2019 we saw the first serious attack 55 miles off Benin’s coast when armed attackers took control of the Panamanian-flagged MSC Mandy and took six Russian crew hostage.
While the volume of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea has been worryingly consistent over the past decade, the reemergence of hostage-taking as a ransom tool is worrying security analysts and shipowners alike. It’s also understandably spooking seafarers who are now more socially connected than ever before and sharing concerns about taking jobs entering the security hotspots.
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