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OBP: The State of Maritime Piracy 2016, London 3 May

 
May 5th 2017
This is a detailed review of 2016 and so does not reflect the recent uplift in criminal activity. The executive summary and supporting documentation is available for download in the OBP Group here.

The research is thorough, using multiple open sources including data from many newspapers and local news. 

West Africa: the crime is anchored in the issues of Nigeria

Indian Ocean: The environment is unchanged; the intent and capability remain, the gangs have been deriving revenues from other illegal activities. As we can see in recent weeks the opportunity is being explored. As John Steed of OBP stated, we are being tested. EUNVAFOR indicated the next 8 weeks are critical and requested ships to report into MSCHOA and stay vigilant. Long term investments in Cap Nestor and UNODC remain and Somalia’s long term resources of Gas, Oil and fishing need to be equitably exploited to ensure this menace is finally brought under control.

Asia: The threat in the Celebes Sea and Sulu straits is significant. A fluid mixture of criminality and terrorism with 67 seafarers held hostage and two killed in 2016, with probes towards larger vessels. There are four major clans, each with 20 families with around 27 languages, so the criminal web is complex. The Nation states are co-operating for sea patrols, but aggressive and sustained military action by the Philippines is having an impact. 

Central America and Caribbean: OBP are starting to gather data. Theft from anchorages is a problem, the area is large and co-operation is being explored with the yachting community. 27 incidents recorded and more to follow.  

The long-term solutions remain improved governance and law enforcement. We can all help by reporting all crime, so that we have complete data to work from. The dialogue with the military is improving and this is a significant boost to a CSO resource. 

There is great concern for the long-term mental health impact on seafarers subject to crime and when taken hostage. The financial models driving kidnap in each region are different (WAF 3-6 weeks, IOC months to years, Asia varied) and that is in a large part down to the deterrence, and ability of government agencies to pursue the hostage takers. If there is terrorist element, then no ransom can be paid.