Original source:¬†Soefartens Ledere¬†(Danish Maritime Officers)
As the pirates’ declining success in the waters off the Horn of Africa, the focus is increasingly on the often very violent piracy in the West African Gulf of Guinea.¬†The West African piracy differs in many ways from what we know from Somalia, and can be roughly divided into 4 types.
By Jakob Wandel | 29 89 00 98 |¬†firstname.lastname@example.org¬†
According to Thomas Horn Hansen, London-based analyst at the maritime security firm Risk Intelligence and expert in West African piracy, the piracy in the Gulf of Guinea divides into four types:
1)¬†Simple robbery / theft,
where armed pirates sneaking on board the ships, typically at night and steal what they can get their hands on and get away from the ship.¬†If the pirates are discovered, they react typically by running away.¬†This form of piracy is widespread in ports and anchorages throughout the region.
where well-armed groups go on board the ships and steal from the ship and its crew all the valueables they can get, whether it is possible to take away from the ship: cash, laptops, cell phones, etc.¬†These pirates are known for a very high level of violence, and they will not run away if they are discovered.¬†This form of piracy is concentrated out of Nigeria and partly Benin and Togo.
3)¬†Kidnappings with ransom demands,
where well-armed pirates board and kidnap crew or part of the crew, typically the captain and chief engineer.¬†These attacks are concentrated on the Niger Delta and up to 2012 seen at up to 45 nautical miles from the coast.¬†In 2013, however, there has been a single attack carried out as far as 97 nautical miles from the coast.
This type of violence are committed by former militia groups, which now supports Nigerian incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
The activity in this type of piracy comes in stages, depending on how active different criminal groups in the area.¬†There is evidence that one or more groups in Bayelsa has been active since December 2012 and it is expected that the number of attempted kidnappings will increase in the Niger Delta in 2013.
This is due to several militia leaders, at lower levels, moving into organized crime in the region, and is expected to plunge into this type of piracy.
A relatively new development is that Nigerian pirates have recently used a hijacked tug to carry out new attacks on other ships, and thus has expanded its area of ??operations.¬†It is not yet clear whether this approach will be a trend amongst these groups.
For pirates, this method carries a greater risk of being caught because in the longer-term it is harder to hide.
For companies it implies a significantly higher risk of crews whose local naval forces attempting to free those ships and captured crews with power.¬†Read also: Nigerian presidential elections in 2015 could escalate piracy.
where product tankers hijacked cargo, or parts of cargo are stolen and transferred to another vessel.¬†This type of piracy carried out by well-organized, Nigeria-based, criminal groups.¬†Tanker hijackings requires good organization and good relations, ensuring that¬†on loading can be done at peace from¬†any naval forces intervention.
Previously, these hijackings concentrated out of Nigeria, but to some extent has moved to the waters off Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast, as a result of such¬†changed patrols.
Hijacking of product tankers rose sharply in 2011 and has had a continued high level in 2012, which is expected to continue in 2013.
Frequently, there is theft of diesel or petrol, on the way to Nigeria, Togo or Benin.¬†Typically, 2000-3000 tons of cargo is¬†stolen¬†and ships released after an average of 5 days.
Profit levels from tanker ¬†hijackings is on average 2 million USD, which makes these hijackings very profitable for the pirates in relation to the short time hijackings items.¬†Read also: Concern over West African piracy