According to Risk Intelligence, pirate networks in the Gulf of Guinea are focusing on product theft from tankers and this type of crime has evolved into a unique and highly lucrative form of maritime crime in the region. In the first eight months of 2013, some 19 attacks took place against vessels operating in the region. There were 25 such attacks in 2012.
This form of piracy has become very costly. An estimated 117,000mt of product worth approximately $ 100 million has been stolen since 2010. The human cost of the pirate attacks is also significant. Two crew members on product tankers have been killed and at least 34 have been injured in hijacking related incidents.
“The Gulf of Guinea tanker hijacking report is the first real effort to describe the perpetrators of these tanker hijackings and how companies have dealt with these incidents in order to improve existing countermeasures,” says Risk Intelligence CEO Hans Tino Hansen. “Understanding the networks in the area that support these hijackings is crucial for planning and preparation.”
The report is based on primary sources of information from the region and interviews with shipping companies that have experienced an attempted or actual hijacking.
“We combined all the strengths of Risk Intelligence into one systematic analysis,” explains Hansen. “We have been reporting and analysing these incidents for years, but we added in a significant level of detail from field studies in Nigeria – absolutely essential for understanding what is going on there.”
As a result, the report provides background, analysis and recommendations, and is focused on practical measures that can be implemented by operators in the region.
Detailed recommendations are outlined in the report for shipping companies and crews of product and chemical tankers trading in the area. The recommendations are considered alongside existing guidelines for maritime security, such as the ISPS code and the Best Management Practices (BMP), as well as the interim guidance published by several industry stakeholders.
“The perpetrators have a working template for successful hijackings,” according to Hansen. “And this is not a problem that international naval intervention can solve. Companies operating in the Gulf of Guinea need to take preventative steps at every level of their operations.”