The annual Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE’s (AGCS) Safety & Shipping Review was published June 4th, and reports that hijacking and boarding of vessels is still tied to inequality and the economic situation in parts of Africa and Asia, which together account for more than three in four cases globally.
Political risk remains heightened around the globe, and increasingly poses a threat to shipping, trade and supply chains through conflicts, territorial disputes, cyber-attacks, sanctions, piracy and even sabotage.
Piracy incidents increased in 2018 to more than 200, with Nigeria now being the top global hotspot for piracy, replacing Indonesia – who previously had seen the most piracy reports for every year since 2014, when it recorded 100 incidents.
However, in 2018 Indonesia saw just 36 incidents – a fall of 64% over five years. Patrols by the Indonesia Marine Police have seen the number of incidents significantly decline, with the majority of incidents low level opportunistic thefts.
Conflicts in hot spots like Yemen, where Houthis rebels attacked a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea in 2018 and the Azov Sea and Black Sea, where Russian ships fired on and seized three of Ukraine’s ships in 2018 where feelings continue to fester. In Nigeria, many crews are kidnapped and taken into Nigeria where they are held for ransom, while Nigerian pirates have also demonstrated their capabilities further out at sea by hijacking a tanker around 100 nautical miles off Point Noire, Congo in October 2018. In May 2019, oil tankers were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, amid rising tensions between the US and Iran.
Image: Cassandra Thomson – US Navy