More kidnappings expected in WAF

The kidnapping of maritime personnel in west Africa is a rising trend.

More kidnappings expected in west Africa

Girija Shettar

The kidnapping of maritime personnel in west Africa is a rising trend, which experts expect to continue. “During 2011 to 2013 [the number of] kidnappings rose, and we foresee that this trend will continue – we will see more kidnappings in the future,” said Commander Hallvard Flasland of the NATO Shipping Centre, speaking at SMi’s International Port Security conference in London (4-5 June).

His figures are supported by maritime consulting company Gray Page. A recent briefing from the company reported that “kidnap for ransom increased by 85% 2013 compared with the levels recorded in 2012”. But Flasland said NATO’s figures showed that other crimes – vessel hijacks and vessels boarded by maritime criminals – had both halved from 2011 to 2013. “The problem of piracy and maritime crime in west Africa has been fairly stable during the last five, 10 years,” said Cdr Flasland, who then emphasised that the level of violence involved in west African maritime crime was the top concern.

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