Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Pirate hostage taking grows in 2014, 'likely to continue' says Dryad Maritime

Pirate hostage taking grows in 2014, 'likely to continue' says Dryad Maritime
Although piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea declined year-on-year by 18% in 2014, kidnapping of senior crew members increased by 75% over the previous year, according to a report by maritime security firm Dryad Maritime.

Dryad noted that while Gulf of Guinea attacks decreased, to 69 in total, kidnappings increased to 14 attacks compared with only eight in 2013. The company indicated that "the vast majority" of attacks were geared towards hostage-taking, a form of crime "endemic" in Nigeria, and that this trend was "likely to continue" in 2015. "Victims will likely be released unharmed as long as shipping companies and owners negotiate with the criminal gangs and pay the ransoms demanded. Whilst it is understandable that such ransoms are paid to secure the safe return of crew, such payments will encourage criminals to persist with this lucrative form of maritime crime."

Dryad also indicated there were a further 14 unsuccessful hostage-taking incidents. "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," the report said.

Incidents of successful Gulf of Guinea product tanker cargo thefts decreased to three, from five in 2013 and seven in 2012. There were also five foiled cargo theft attempts on tankers. "Like the kidnap of crew for ransom, cargo theft is likely to remain on the menu of Nigeria based criminal gangs in 2015. The criminal reach demonstrated with the hijack of MT Kerala, the number of successful and attempted attacks in 2014 and the lack of any evidence that such gangs have been neutralised, suggests that further attempts at cargo theft will take place in 2015 across the region."

Meanwhile in Southeast Asia, attacks increased 21%, to 214, including an 80% increase in robberies, attempted robberies and vessel boardings in the western Singapore Strait over 2013.