1 year ago


Welcome to the DANGER ZONE Increase in K&R cover for tactic-changing West African pirates After successfully conquering Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the world is looking for a playbook that will work in the Gulf of Guinea – the new piracy hotspot of the world. Tactics have changed from capturing ships to holding human hostages for ransom, emphasising the need for comprehensive kidnap and ransom (K&R) cover. ANTON PRETORIUS After troubling Africa’s East Coast for several years, maritime pirates have found new looting ground in West Africa. But pirates have not only shifted regions, but they have also changed tactics too – realising that they can make more money from kidnap and ransom as opposed to cargo theft and ship hijacking. The Gulf of Guinea has now become the world’s most dangerous body of water, with pirates carrying out 54 attacks in its waters last year and causing more than $719.6 million (R10 billion) in economic damages, according to a report from US-based Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP). The report shows that of the total 54 piracy incidents, 40 per cent of those were attempted kidnapping and abduction cases (346 seafarers affected). Jared Higgins, CEO of Arcfyre Group – a leading protective services company that has extensive experience in hostile and unstable environments, says that West Africa has had issues with piracy and terrorism for some time now. He’s seen a significant change in trend from maritime-based piracy to land-based kidnapping. “In East Africa, Somalian pirates operated in an area that was, essentially, lawless. Their modus operandi was to grab vessels and hold them to ransom. In West Africa, pirates have realised that human hostages provide quicker turnaround time and a bigger payload, which has led to an increase in maritime-based kidnapping,” he explains. East to West: Eradicating piracy in the Gulf of Aden The continued stability in Somalia, a heavy presence of European and US navies in the western Indian Ocean and a security-conscious maritime industry has seen the piracy menace that had plagued the Horn of Africa reduced to an all-time low. States in the Gulf of Guinea region continue to increase maritime security and cooperation, but capacity is still lacking. Fuel costs decreased by nearly 50 per cent, resulting in significant cost savings related to naval patrols and deployments. OBP estimates show that $349.1 million (R4.8 billion) – 49 per cent of total expenses – was spent on contracted maritime security (embarked teams, secure zone fees, contracted patrol vessels, and safety escorts) in 2015 alone. “In Somalia, for them to plunder this boat or get the boat into an area where they can hold it would take days (or even months). The improvement in the naval security response in East Africa has made this virtually impossible, and that’s why we have seen a massive decrease in piracy incidents off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden,” says Higgins, adding that security response capabilities in the Gulf of Guinea are far less efficient than it has been off the coast of Somalia. In the Gulf of Aden along Africa’s east coast, several effective measures were implemented to deter piracy. “Vessels used shipping routes that were further offshore, which made it harder for pirates to travel in their small boats or dhows to reach these vessels,” he explains. The decrease in piracy along the Gulf of Aden was also thanks to an improvement in onboard deterring systems like rigging the ship’s deck with barbed wire, water cannons and more armed security personnel. But the difference in the Gulf of Guinea is that ships are attacked during anchorage, making it virtually impossible for them to get away. “In West Africa, boats in anchorage are sitting ducks,” says Higgins. West African pirates’ modus operandi includes boarding the vessel and ransacking it for cash, jewellery and other valuables. It also comprises grabbing crewmen. In 30 minutes to an hour, the pirates have taken what they came for and are heading back to the Niger Delta, where they hold the captives hostage. As the world became more aware that piracy was becoming a problem, particularly as it had a huge impact from a global economic standpoint, more and more organisations were prepared to contribute towards mitigating factors that could essentially reduce the risk of vessels being targeted. “It’s still perceived to be robbery because the vessel is not being taken and individuals are being held captive,” says Higgins, “For years, kidnapping in Nigeria has been a prolific problem. The fact that they are now taking people off ships and holding them on land doesn’t really make a fundamental difference in the perceived kidnapping problem in Nigeria. West Africa’s response to the problem has been much slower.” The big heist Higgins points out that talking about ransom amounts is difficult because the nature of the negotiation process is confidential and one has to be careful about releasing too much information about how much is paid for a vessel. However, he adds that in excess of $100 million (R1.3 billion) has been paid for captured boats. “It’s largely dependent on the size of the vessel, the cargo it carries and how valuable it is to the entity that owns the vessel. In 2011, there was an incident with an Italian ship (MV Savina Caylyn) where an amount of $10 million (R137 million) was reportedly paid to get the vessel back.” Higgins says that, from an individual perspective, the amount for kidnap and ransom can vary. “There have been reports of between $400 000-$500 000 (R5.5-6.8 million) paid to get a human hostage back. It depends on the hierarchy of that person within the ranks of the ship. Oftentimes, more money is paid for the captain. A paler skin also plays a big role in ransom amounts.” The OBP reports that in 2015, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was significantly more 54 55

PDF DOWNLOAD >> SAMI The BRIDGE Issue 1 extended digital ...
report - Oceans Beyond Piracy
Review of 2012 - Hellenic War Risks
Troubled Waters: Somali Piracy - Small Arms Survey
2009-2011 Piracy Update - Fortunes de mer
The Evolving World of Maritime Security - Security Resource Center ...
Piracy Update, 2009 - Lyons & Flood
Economic Cost of Piracy 2012 - Full Report - Oceans Beyond Piracy
June 2010 Issue - Council of American Master Mariners
cab 183 january 2012.pdf - IMO
Maritime Piracy and Related Kidnapping for Ransom - FATF
Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia ... - liscr
Piracy Best Management Practices - ics shipping
BMP4 - Best Management Practices for Protection ... - Bundespolizei
Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based ...
Download file as PDF - HFW