Recent Attacks Confirm Piracy Increase in Gulf of Guinea

A major pirate attack took place this Saturday (22 September) when pirates boarded MV Glarus, a Swiss-flagged vessel en route from Lagos to Port Harcourt (Nigeria).  The vessel was carrying wheat.

According to the vessel’s owner, Massoel, the pirates destroyed the vessel’s telecommunications systems before kidnapping 12 of the 19 crew members on board.  All the relevant authorities have been notified.

Last week, on 17 September, four armed pirates boarded a tanker at Conakry anchorage (Guinea).  The Master mustered the crew in the citadel and we understand that no-one was harmed or taken hostage.  The pirates stole the crew’s personal belongings from their cabins and fled before the arrival of a navy vessel which had come to their rescue.

These incidents confirm the trends observed by the ICC-IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in the first half of 2018:

  • a global increase in pirate attacks
  • in Africa, a geographical shift away from Somalia towards the Gulf of Guinea
  • a decrease in incidents in South-East Asia

Live Piracy Map courtesy of ICC-IMB Piracy Reporting Centre

A total of 87 piracy incidents were reported worldwide in 2017, whereas at least 106 incidents were reported in the first half of 2018.

Of these 106 incidents, almost 45% took place in Africa, mainly in the Gulf of Guinea. 

Reproduced courtesy of ICC-IMB Piracy Reporting Centre

In Somalia, only one case of piracy has been reported so far this year.  This considerable improvement is thought to result from the increased use of armed security guards on board and various other measures.

Unfortunately, the West African pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea are considered particularly aggressive as they will not hesitate to kill or torture crew members in support of ransom demands.  Attacks often occur in territorial waters away from the patrol zones of the international naval forces whose mandate is to offer protection from piracy.

According to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, in South-East Asia, particularly Indonesia, piracy remains a danger despite reduction in incidents which has resulted from regional cooperation supported by Singapore.

Sarah Penwarden
Budd Marseille

Budd Abidjan (Ivory Coast)
Budd Conakry (Guinea)
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre



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