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15. July 2019


Piracy incidents down in the waters off Nigeria

Fire shots at ships, assault and hostage taking of crew members. Pirate attacks have long been a serious threat, creating insecurity for both crew members and shipping companies. But new figures now show that the number of pirate attacks is declining.

Globally, 78 cases of piracy and armed robbery against ships have so far been registered, compared to 107 incidents in the same period in 2018.

For the Gulf of Guinea and off the coast of Nigeria, there have been fewer registered incidents especially in the second quarter of 2019. In the first half of 2019, 21 pirate incidents were registered off Nigeria. This number has fallen from 31 incidents in the same period of 2018. The decrease is due, among other things, to a faster effort by the Nigerian fleet, says Danish Shipping.

“We are very pleased that the number of incidents is on the decline. The development emphasizes how important it is that countries in the exposed regions start to live up to their responsibility as to safeguarding their waters, and for the Gulf of Guinea, we have especially seen Nigeria making an important effort,” says Asbjørn Overgaard Christiansen, Acting Director of Security, Environment and Maritime Research at Danish Shipping.

The Gulf of Guinea and the waters off Nigeria remain the most affected by pirates

Although the number of incidents is declining, the Gulf of Guinea and especially the waters off Nigeria in West Africa are still the area most affected by violent assaults and hijackings. 8 out of 9 incidents where pirates have fired upon merchant ships took place off Nigeria, while nearly half of the globally reported pirate incidents occurred in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Gulf of Guinea is therefore considered to be the area where there is the highest risk for seafarers. 73% of global hijackings and 92% of total hostage takings are registered in that area.

27 crew members were kidnapped in the first half of 2019 in the Gulf of Guinea which is almost equivalent to the 25 hijackings in the same period in 2018.

Danish Shipping therefore call on the shipping companies to continue taking the necessary security precautions when operating in these areas.

"Pirate attacks are a serious problem for merchant ships and their crew members. It is therefore important that the work with fighting piracy continues,” says Asbjørn Overgaard Christiansen.

10% of Danish shipping companies’ activities take place in Africa.