In the first eight months of this year, 19 attacks took place against vessels operating in the Gulf of Guinea. There were 25 attacks reported in 2012.
Pirate networks in the area are focusing on product theft from tankers and this relatively new type of piracy has evolved into a unique and highly lucrative form of maritime crime in the region, said Danish-based Risk Intelligence.
An estimated 117,000 tonnes of product worth about $100 mill has been stolen since 2010. The human cost of the pirate attacks is also significant. Two crew members on product tankers have been killed and at least 34 have been injured in hijacking related incidents.
Risk Intelligence has launched a ‘Gulf of Guinea hijacking report.’ “The Gulf of Guinea tanker hijacking report is the first real effort to describe the perpetrators of these tanker hijackings and how companies have dealt with these incidents in order to improve existing countermeasures,” explained Risk Intelligence CEO Hans Tino Hansen. “Understanding the networks in the area that support these hijackings is crucial for planning and preparation.”
The report is based on primary sources of information from the region and interviews with shipping companies that have experienced an attempted, or actual hijacking.
“We combined all the strengths of Risk Intelligence into one systematic analysis,” explained Hansen. “We have been reporting and analysing these incidents for years, but we added in a significant level of detail from field studies in Nigeria – absolutely essential for understanding what is going on there.”
As a result, the report provides background, analysis and recommendations and is focused on practical measures that can be implemented by operators in the region, the company said.
Detailed recommendations are outlined in the report for shipping companies and crews of product and chemical tankers trading in the area. The recommendations are considered alongside existing guidelines for maritime security, such as the ISPS code and the Best Management Practices (BMP), as well as the interim guidance published by several industry stakeholders.
“The perpetrators have a working template for successful hijackings,” said Hansen. “And this is not a problem that international naval intervention can solve. Companies operating in the Gulf of Guinea need to take preventative steps at every level of their operations.”
Due to the commercial sensitivities of the companies described in the report the report is only available to Risk Intelligence clients and to selected industry members and stakeholders, the company stressed.