Dryad Maritime issues its crime report for 2015.
The media focus of maritime security shifted again in 2015 from West Africa towards Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean. Continued increases in reported incidents of maritime crime, and considerable geopolitical unrest, have had a large effect upon maritime trade and operations. The picture is not one of complete gloom however, with international recognition of a reduction in piracy in the Indian Ocean and a marked increase in the quality of incident reporting throughout the rest of the world.
Dryad’s 2014 figures highlighted a drop in offshore maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea, and this has followed again in 2015 with the number of reported incidents dropping by 29% when compared to 2014. This drop in reported incidents also saw an unprecedented 5 month break in piracy. However, it is not a time to be complacent, and the risk of kidnap remains a concern for crew of vessels operating off Nigeria with the overall figures for the number of crew kidnapped actually surpassing 2014’s records. The Somali pirate threat in the Indian Ocean remains broadly contained with no confirmed attacks of merchant ships, although the hijack/detention of 3 Iranian fishing vessels gives some cause for concern. The pragmatic decision to reduce the BIMCOsponsored High Risk Area (HRA) is a recognition not only of this year’s crime statistics, but also of the continued decline in pirate activity over the course of the last 3 years. The war in Yemen has so far had minimal effect on the transit of shipping through the area, although the Saudi led coalition’s closure of the country’s ports has contributed to a humanitarian crisis ashore. The recent increase in hostilities between Saudi Arabia and Iran has the potential to add to the volatile geopolitical situation in the Gulf region.
Southeast Asia saw a 10% rise in maritime crime from 2014, continuing year on year trends, but this could have been larger were it not for the success of the various maritime authorities lead in arresting maritime criminals. The final quarter of the year saw a more proactive and effective approach to law enforcement, in particular from the Indonesian and Malaysian authorities, resulting in a welcome drop in crime levels. In this case, it appears that the focus of wider media and industry pressure has had a positive effect on the region’s overall approach.
Looking at the rest of the world, 2015 saw an increase in levels of maritime crime. This may not point towards a real terms increase though, as the quality of reporting continues to increase in multiple regions. A large portion of the incidents reported have occurred in the Caribbean, Central and South America, but there has been an unusual recurrence of reports coming from the Tianjin area of China.
Finally, the Mediterranean has become the area of most concern, due to the continued civil war in Libya and the expansion of the Islamic State terrorist organisation both there and in the Sinai. Thankfully, attacks ashore, like those seen in Tunisia, have not been mirrored with incidents at sea. Despite this, the unprecedented flow of desperate people, fleeing across the sea to Europe, has meant that the ongoing crises and instability across North Africa and the Middle East have had a significant impact upon maritime activities.
To read the full report, please click here.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Dryad Maritime.
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