Piracy Shifts to Western Africa

MarineLink.com
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Photo: EnGarde

As international cooperation brings increasing pressure on more the traditional pirate trade in east Africa, there is mounting evidence that Western Africa, from Guinea-Bissau south to the Congo has become a new hotspot for the pirate trade.

While the movie “Captain Phillips”, a story about Somali pirates hijacking the Captain of the container ship Maersk Alabama, played in theaters around the world, the International Chamber of Commerce, International Maritime Bureau, was quietly issuing a new warning that the number of piracy incidents in West Africa was making that area increasingly dangerous.

On January 18 a Greek shipping firm lost contact with a Liberian flagged 75,000 ton oil tanker called the Kerala off the coast of Angola. It wasn’t until January 26th that the company was able to make contact with the ship and establish they had indeed been hijacked and a large amount of her cargo stolen. Later the oil-dependent Angolan government tried suggesting that the piracy had been faked. Security experts doubt the government story and warn the incident seems to be a clear escalation of the piracy formerly confined largely to the Gulf of Guinea.

Though pirates in Western Africa lack a lawless coast where they can hide hijacked vessels, the threat to crew and cargo moving through the area is still real. One of the telling moments for viewers watching Captain Phillips in theaters was how little protection freighter crews have from pirates. The Maersk Alabama’s only defenses were speed and fire hoses; in the end those weren’t enough.

The expanding threat horizon facing shipping on both coasts of Africa have prompted many shipping firms to consider upgraded defensive capabilities for their ships and crew. Companies that produce body armor and ballistic products are finding new customers among shipping companies operating ships in high-risk areas.

Iwan Luiten, Marketing Manager at EnGarde body armor, reports “More of their customers are companies with ships that routinely pass through high risk areas. Many have at least two emergency sets of body armor, including a helmet, ready for use.” These body armor sets are worn by the bridge watch during transiting high-risk areas and provide protection from small arms fire, flying glass and high speed grenade fragments.

It’s a certainty that as piracy spreads to a new coast in Africa that those who must work in dangerous waters will face a new round of threats from pirates.

engardebodyarmor.com
 

Maritime Reporter January 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

Enterprise Contracts to Boost U.S. Crude Exports

Enterprise bumps up exports through annual contracts; signs 2015 contracts with PDS, Vitol; seeks one more term buyer. U.S. exports of condensate have been given

Tighter Supertanker Market Impacts Asian Fuel Supplies

The window to sell Western fuel oil to Asia is starting to close as demand for a limited fleet of supertankers to store cheap crude pushes freight rates to multi-month highs,

Oil Tankers are Front Line of Libya's Struggles

Crew members killed in tanker attack this month; West fears worsening violence could lead to civil war. Oil shippers face higher costs and the possible loss of insurance cover on Libyan voyages,

Marine Equipment

Panama Flag Approval for Seagull

Seagull Maritime has become the first overseas company to secure training centre approval from the Panama Maritime Authority following the PMA’s 2014 change of leadership.

Sino-Global to Acquire Tanker

Sino-Global Shipping America, Ltd. a shipping agency, logistics and ship management services company, today announced that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (the "MOU"),

The 2nd Ballast Water Management Summit

Sign-up for this year’s most in-depth exchange of information and best venue for BWT stakeholders to network and meet regulatory peers is underway.   Infocast’s

Maritime Safety

Oil Tankers are Front Line of Libya's Struggles

Crew members killed in tanker attack this month; West fears worsening violence could lead to civil war. Oil shippers face higher costs and the possible loss of insurance cover on Libyan voyages,

‘Maritime Spectrum’ of CMMI a Big Draw

For The Company of Master Mariners of India, the conference “Maritime Spectrum” that comes at the turn of each year has become a brand in itself, and each one

ms Veendam Rescues Pilot Off Maui Coast, Hawaii

On Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, at 5:21 p.m. local time while en route to Lahaina, Hawaii, Holland America Line’s ms Veendam answered a request for assistance from

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2436 sec (4 req/sec)