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 November 2013 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

Libyan Rebel Refuses to Hand Over Oil Ports

A former Libyan rebel leader, who seized oil ports in the past to campaign for eastern autonomy, said he had turned down an offer to join an armed group challenging

Krishnapatnam Port Wins Seatrade CSR Award

Widely recognized for excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility, Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited was declared winner of 2014 Seatrade Maritime Awards in

Brazil Setting-up Solar Parks

Brazil finally entered the solar power sector on Friday, granting contracts for the construction of 31 solar parks as it tries to diversify its sources of generation

Marine Equipment

Tugboat Crew Missing After Collision

Five members of a tugboat crew are missing after a collision with a merchant ship about 9NM off Tanjung Gelang yesterday (30 October). One crew member was rescued by fishermen.

ClassNK Registered Al Kout Delivered to KOTC

Leading classification society ClassNK announced that it has completed work on the 165,178GT VLCC Al Kout, built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co.

Royal IHC Bags Dredging Package Order

Royal IHC (IHC) has secured a new contract with the Chinese shipyard, Jin Hai Heavy Industrial Group, for the delivery of a dredging installation package for a trailing suction hopper dredger.

Maritime Safety

Italy Ending Med Sea Rescues

Rights groups warn of risk of more deaths; EU mission Triton will have more limited scope. Italy said on Friday it would close a sea rescue mission that has saved the lives of more than 100,

St. Lawrence Seaway Workers Extend Strike Deadline

The union that represents workers on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the waterway that links the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, has extended a strike deadline to Monday at 5 p.

New Functionality in WatchMate Vision

Vesper Marine has announced updates to its WatchMate Vision and XB-8000 product lines.   Now, in addition to transmitting and receiving position, course, speed

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics 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: 0.1848 sec (5 req/sec)