The following narrative accompanies Dryad’s maritime crime figures for Quarter 1 (January to March) of 2015, assessing the situation across our main areas of maritime interest. The report is not limited to traditional piracy and maritime crime, but includes commentary on other threats and issues; from civil war and terrorism in Yemen and Libya to criminal gang enabled mass migration – areas and issues upon which we report regularly to our clients. The narrative, compiled by Dryad’s regional analysts, is set against a highly visible, complex and dynamic international backdrop.
The actions of the Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Saudi coalition response continues to impact on maritime trade, whilst reports of potential Iranian maritime support to the Houthi rebels adds to the rhetoric and tension of long-standing differences. In the Mediterranean, the tragic situation on mass migration continues to dominate the news with disturbing stories of massive loss of life that is impacting commercial vessels as they render assistance, alongside others, to those in peril on the sea. In Nigeria, the election of a new President and his supporting administration may lead to some hope on regional maritime security, but it would be prudent not to hold our breath on this one, as the new leader faces more significant security challenges outside the maritime domain from the threat of Boko Haram and of widespread corruption. In this region, and in Southeast Asia, there are no signs of any let up in the scope and scale of maritime crime, whilst the once pre-eminent Somali pirate threat continues to be broadly contained, by the combination of naval forces, armed guards and best practice and calmed by a changing situation ashore. That said, worrying signs of illegal fishing off Somalia, by some nations emboldened by the lack of pirate activity, risks a return to the first phase of Somali piracy if unchecked by nascent maritime constabulary operations; an area worthy of international support. History does have a habit of repeating itself!
In sum, the first few months of 2015 have demonstrated, in the most visible way possible, just how complex and sometimes dangerous the maritime domain can be, as well as how important it is to maintain awareness, treat the risks and avoid complacency at all costs. We hope that these regular updates from Dryad Maritime will serve as an important first step for all with responsibilities and interest in maritime trade and especially in support of the seafarers upon whom we all rely to keep the lights on and the world fed.
Ian Millen, Chief Operating Officer
To read the entire report, please click here.