Year after year, the fight against piracy seems to bear its effects. The number of attacks against ships in international waters has fallen sharply over the past five years, according to the annual report of the Mica Center, an organization which collects and relays useful information on safety at sea, placed under the authority of the national navy. A trend that seems sustainable, according to analysts.
In detail, the Gulf of Guinea, considered the most dangerous region in the world for commercial ships and tankers due to Nigerian pirates, has seen a spectacular drop in acts of piracy, from 62 in 2020 to 42 in 2021, and only 7 last year. The same spectacular decline in the Indian Ocean, where there were 13 attacks in 2022 against 33 two years earlier. In Asia, the number of assaults on ships fell from 63 to 4 in the space of five years.
Reinforced security services
According to the Navy, this trend is explained by local and international considerations. “The continued rise in power of the coastal navies, the protection of anchorage areas, the generalization of escorts by security companies and the determination shown by the coastal states (Editor’s note: especially judging pirates) contribute to securing maritime areas”, says the Mica Center report. Added to this is the reinforcement of foreign warships, particularly those of the European Union, which pose an increased threat to pirates.
These have had to review their modus operandi, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, where they focus more on theft, illegal refining and smuggling of oil installations in the Niger Delta. Acts of robbery against commercial or pleasure vessels at anchor also remain high, particularly in the Caribbean Sea but also in the Strait of Malacca, a traditional area of traffic of all kinds, between the Indian Ocean and the China Sea. southern.
Another worrying increase is illegal fishing, which is developing in all the seas of the globe. In the Gulf of Guinea, this maintains strong pressure on fish stocks to the detriment of local populations, encouraging all sorts of parallel traffic, particularly oil. “The development of fishmeal and fish oil factories further accentuates the phenomenon”, underlines the Mica Center. Off Guyana, the French authorities are observing the arrival of fishing boats from Brazil, Surinam and Venezuela, where the number of boats is much higher than the available resource.