A renowned United States -based Non-Governmental Organization, NGO, One Earth Future, has identified West Africa as the world’s new piracy hotspot with 54 incidents occurring at different years.
This is contained in the organisation’s ninth annual state of maritime piracy report released recently.
The report said 54 incidents occurred in 2015, 95 in 2016, 97 in 2017 and a worrying 112 in 2018.
The piracy report blamed the increase on a number of factors including poverty, political instability, a lack of proper law enforcement and a long list of lucrative targets.
The report which was made available to The Tide on Tuesday by the agency shows the incidents of hijacking, kidnapping, armed robberies and boarding attempts occurred at different maritime regions
“The last point is true of Nigeria which experienced the most attacks due to an increase in “petro-piracy” which has targeted vessels involved in oil and gas transportation. Another simple reason for West Africa’s rise is the downward trend in other regions, particularly East Africa and Asia,” the report said.
The One Earth Future report also stated that while East African shipping routes near Somalia used to be notorious for pirates, the number of incidents in the region has fallen dramatically in recent years, “primarily due to a series of effective international naval operations”.
According to the report, “In 2017, East Africa experienced 54 incidents of piracy or robbery and that fell to just nine last year. The Malacca Strait also gained a reputation for maritime hijackings and extortion but steady progress is also being made there. 199 attacks were recorded across Asia in 2015 and that fell to 98 by 2018.”