Homeland Security Today in the US on 25th May carried an article about a new report, a 2017 study released by Oceans Beyond Piracy. The article said that piracy in the Caribbean and Latin America rose by 163% last year, while piracy doubled in the Horn of Africa in 2017 showing the resiliency of seafaring Somali criminal networks. Despite the threats to shipping in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, there has been a 13% drop in the use of privately contracted armed security personnel between January 2015 and December 2017 – but in east Africa $292.5 million was spent on armed maritime security contractors last year, while international naval activities cost $199.7 million. The economic cost of piracy in the area has stabilised over the past 3 years at $1.4 billion. 41% of attacks recorded involved armed assailants. The total of 54 such armed attacks represented a doubling over 2016.
The report was “unable to compile a comprehensive economic cost of piracy for Latin America and the Caribbean due the complexity of maritime activity in the region”, but out of 71 total incidents, 42 involved yachts, with the majority of crime involving robbery from ships at anchor and most incidents occurring in territorial waters.
Piracy continues to mount in West Africa, at $818.1 million in 2017 but spending on contracted maritime security decreased to $213.7 million, while allocations on law enforcement and naval patrols increased by $13.2 million. 100 crew members were taken hostage in the Gulf of Guinea in 2017, and 2 crew members were killed by pirates. Out of 97 incidents last year, 21 involved kidnapping seafarers for ransom and 1 incident was a hijacking to seize the ship’s cargo.
The piracy outlook in Asia included a sharp decrease in overall incidents, from 2,283 in 2016 to 99 last year. However, 17 seafarers were killed.