U.K.-based marine intelligence firm Dryad Maritime has said that maritime crime incidents in the Gulf of Guinea decreased 18% year on year in 2014 when compared to 2013.
Attacks aimed at kidnapping crew members of the vessels increased in the region, says a press release of Dryad Maritime, a team of experienced maritime operations and intelligence specialists and professionals from a variety of commercial disciplines.
Despite this overall reduction, the year saw a marked increase in the number of attacks resulting in the kidnap of senior crew from support craft and commercial vessels trading in the region. Fourteen vessels had crew taken captive last year, compared to eight vessels having crew kidnapped the previous year.
Just two of last year’s attacks occurred inside Nigeria’s 12 nautical mile (nm) territorial waters, with the remainder further offshore where protection from security vessels is less available. A further 14 unsuccessful attacks took place within the Nigerian exclusive
economic zone (EEZ).
Analysis suggests that the vast majority of these criminal gang attacks were aimed at the kidnap of crew, especially given the areas and weaponry involved. Effective defensive measures employed by crews and security teams meant that these 14 attacks were aborted and were not added to the already higher statistics for kidnap or cargo theft.
Dryad expects an increase in such crimes in Nigeria in 2015. It said Somali piracy has decreased in the past two years.
Maritime crimes across Southeast Asia increased 21% year on year in 2014, Dryad said. Dryad’s figures show a total of 214 incidents compared to 177 in the previous year. It is notable that the vast majority of these incidents have taken place within 150 nm of Singapore. These figures include the dramatic rise in cargo theft of fuel from tankers operating out of Singapore. The year also saw the tragic death of a crew member as a direct result of criminal activity.