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Report highlights risk of piracy and stowaways in Africa
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Report highlights risk of piracy and stowaways in Africa

Piracy hotspots, increased stowaways and migrants at sea cause concern

An increase in stowaways boarding commercial vessels in African ports as well as the impact of rising piracy in West Africa are cause for concern according to a report released by Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality.

The report, Safety & Shipping Review 2019 analyses reported shipping losses over 100 gross tons and cites Lagos, Nigeria as the port with the highest number of reported stowaway incidents.

“In December 2018, British Special Forces boarded the Ro-ro cargo ship Grande Tema in the English Channel after a group of stowaways threatened the crew. The 71,000-ton vessel, owned by Grimaldi Lines was en route from Lagos, Nigeria to the UK when its crew discovered four stowaways and locked them in a cabin. However, the four men escaped and demanded the vessel sail close to the coast so they could get ashore.”

Also of concern is the apparent increase of piracy off the coast of West Africa and particularly in the Gulf of Guinea. According to the report, this makes Nigeria the top global hotspot for piracy, accounting for 48 incidents or almost one in four of all reported cases globally.

“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.”

The report also notes the increase in migrants seeking to cross from Africa to Europe in unseaworthy vessels.
“Around 113,000 migrants entered Europe by sea in 2018 – the fifth year in a row this total has been in excess of 100,000, according to the International Organization for Migration.”

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