The kidnapping of maritime personnel in west Africa is a rising trend, which experts expect to continue.
“During 2011 to 2013 [the number of] kidnappings rose, and we foresee that this trend will continue – we will see more kidnappings in the future,” said Hallvard Flesland of the NATO Shipping Centre, speaking at SMi’s International Port Security conference in London (4-5 June). His figures are supported by maritime consulting company Gray Page. A recent briefing from the company reported that “kidnap for ransom increased by 85% 2013 compared with the levels recorded in 2012”. But Flasland said NATO’s figures showed that other crimes – vessel hijacks and vessels boarded by maritime criminals – had both halved from 2011 to 2013.
Maritime Security News Note:
The increase in crew kidnappings off the West African coast is something this blog has covered in detail in the past. Even as recently as last week, word was received of another kidnapping, although curiously the captives were released almost immediately. So far, there has been no confirmation officially of the incident which is why it hasn’t been posted. However, there is no doubt that senior crew, senior Western crew in particular, are seen as high value targets for criminal gangs operating off Nigeria. Predicting an increase in kidnappings when security remains woeful is a little like predicting rain during a British summer.