While the problem of piracy seems to have lessened in the Indian ocean, it is spreading elsewhere. In the last year 23 pirate attacks have been reported, mainly off the coasts of Nigeria and Ghana.

Suspected pirates are arrested by Marine commandos of the French Navy in the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia coasts. French government officials say the Jean de Vienne intercepted and captured 19 pirates Sunday as they tried to take over two cargo ships, one Croatian and the other Panamian.

Suspected pirates are arrested by Marine commandos of the French Navy in the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia coasts. French government officials say the Jean de Vienne intercepted and captured 19 pirates Sunday as they tried to take over two cargo ships, one Croatian and the other Panamian.

Piracy in the Indian Ocean appears to have been brought under control and has diminished over the past two years as international navies take more decisive action. However, the European coalition forces, EUNAVFOR, are still warning yachts to keep out of this ‘high-risk zone’.

‘All yachts under their own passage should remain out of the High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom,’ it warns starkly. ‘The root cause of piracy has not been eradicated. This is due to limited progress establishing an effective law enforcement capacity within the towns and regions associated with piracy . . .

‘Extreme poverty and lack of employment prospects remain in coastal communities, contributing to large numbers of disaffected youths looking for any opportunities. The motive for piracy therefore remains.’

The warning goes on to explain that, as of September 2013 around US$20 million in ransom had been paid to Somali pirates for the release of vessels and/or crews. ‘Pirates are now cash rich, but asset poor, and keen to seize any vessel which might provide a financial return,’ it states.

Gulf of Guinea is worse

But while the situation in the Gulf of Aden may have improved marginally, the problem is spreading elsewhere. In the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, the problem of piracy has worsened and since last year 23 pirate attacks have been reported, mainly off the coasts of Nigeria and Ghana.

The Strait of Malacca and Singapore Strait have also become a more active area for piracy, though these attacks are mainly boardings and robbery, rather than hostage taking, and are often opportunistic petty thefts from ships at anchor.

Globally, 116 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in the first six months of 2014, down on the 138 incidents for the corresponding period for 2013.

You can find up to date news and a live piracy incident map at www.icc-ccs.org

 

This is an extract from a feature in the October 2014 issue of Yachting World