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 July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Maritime Security

RN Warship Intercepts Caribean Drug Smugglers

Royal Navy warship HMS Argyll has seized £21 million worth of cocaine after a 12-hour pursuit across the Caribbean, informs the Ministry of Defence. Sailors then

USCG Small Boat Fires Warning Shot at Iranian Vessel

A U.S. Coast Guard boat operating in international waters in the Arabian Gulf fired on an Iranian dhow in what U.S. military officials described as a defensive

US, China Officials Meet After Navy Jet Intercept

U.S. and Chinese military officials will hold talks on rules of behavior at the Pentagon on Tuesday and Wednesday, a U.S. official said, days after the United States

News

COSCO Resorts to Rate Restoration for F. East to S Africa Trade

COSCO Container Lines would like to announce Rate Restoration for all shipments (include reefer cargo) from Far East to South Africa Trade and take effect from September 1, 2014.

Anchorage Area Obstruction in Freeport

Brazos Pilots Association in Freeport, Texas, advise that a 600-700' long wire is presenting a hazard to vessels in the north Freeport general anchorage. According to advice from the Association,

Neeraj Bansal Appointed Deputy Chairman of JNPT

The Government of India has appointed Neeraj Bansal as Deputy Chairman of India's largest container port,  Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust with immediate effect. Mr

Marine Equipment

Port of Long Beach Chooses APS Crane OCR System

APS Technology Group, a member of the ABB Group and a leading provider of optical character recognition (OCR) and process automation technology solutions for marine and intermodal container terminals,

Crane Operator Alert: Certification Requirement

Although OSHA Stakeholders have voted to extend the final deadline in four different meetings, the deadline has not been officially extended by US Government agency OSHA as of yet,

Transnet National Ports Authority Orders 9 Voith Water Tractors

In South Africa’s largest local shipbuilding contract Transnet National Ports Authority has ordered nine new Voith Water Tractors (VWT) for use in several ports across the country.

Maritime Safety

Pariah Containership Banned from Australian Ports

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) informs that it has issued a direction to the container ship 'Vega Auriga' (IMO 9347786) that prohibits the ship

Anchorage Area Obstruction in Freeport

Brazos Pilots Association in Freeport, Texas, advise that a 600-700' long wire is presenting a hazard to vessels in the north Freeport general anchorage. According to advice from the Association,

Pine Galaxy Expected to Arrive in San Francisco Today

The disabled mixed-products tanker Pine Galaxy is expected to arrive in San Francisco Wednesday morning. The ship is being towed by commercial tug to San Francisco Bay.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar 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: 0.2472 sec (4 req/sec)