Dryad Maritime report finds increase in crew kidnapping in Gulf of Guinea

28 July 2016 (Last Updated July 28th, 2016 18:30)

Marine crimes are increasing in the Gulf of Guinea and Sulu Sea with crew kidnap being the main threat, according to a report by Dryad Maritime.

Marine crimes are increasing in the Gulf of Guinea and Sulu Sea with crew kidnap being the main threat, according to a report by Dryad Maritime.

The threats in those areas remains a concern despite decreases in maritime piracy in other regions such as South East Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Dryad Maritime reported that a total of 34 incidents of maritime crime and piracy were recorded across South East Asia during the second quarter of this year, bringing the total for the first half of 2016 to 49.

Compared with the first six months of the last year, the new rate is a 66% reduction reported during the same period of this year.

"We are very mindful of the fact that the situation at sea can change rapidly."

Dryad Maritime chief operating officer Ian Millen said: "In the Indian Ocean, we are witnessing a period of de-escalation as ship owners are placing less reliance on armed security in favour of information-based risk mitigation.

“Whilst the welcome containment of Somali piracy has come about as a result of a comprehensive, joined-up approach, including naval forces and embarked armed guards, we are very mindful of the fact that the situation at sea can change rapidly.

“In short, avoiding complacency and remaining vigilant is as important today as it was in years gone by, as any material change in the risk/reward ratio for Somali pirates could result in further hijacks of those that fail to prepare well or are reckless in straying too close to Somali shores.”

The company also noted that the Gulf of Guinea is now considered to be the most dangerous region in the world for seafarers and was designated a pirate danger area by them in April this year.

In April, the region witnessed 14 attacks occurring off the Niger Delta, resulting in the kidnap of ten crew members from three vessels.

Other conflicts occurring in areas such as Libya, Syria and Yemen have also become a threat to mariners.

Dryad Maritime has advised to create awareness on the issue so that uncertainty can be reduced and preparedness can be improved.