By Tom Patterson,
Associate Director for Maritime Services at Control Risks, the global risk consultancy.
LONDON – For all of human history, the maritime environment has presented a complex and challenging operating environment. For most people, shipping remains an invisible industry despite its critical role in today’s global economy. There was a brief spike in public interest a few years ago when Somali pirates provided a modern-day outlet for coverage about contemporary swashbuckling on the high seas. But pirate activity off the Horn of Africa has ebbed considerably, and with it most public concern.
Yet last year saw a 26% spike in maritime piracy and armed robbery, according to statistics compiled by Control Risks. This marked the highest level since 2011. Somali pirates accounted for a mere 4% of global activity, and attacks by Nigerian groups in the Gulf of Guinea—another piracy hotspot in recent years—declined by 12%. Asia accounted for 30% of the global total.
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