Briefly: Up to six crew members are still missing after pirates attacked a Danish oil tanker in the Gulf of Guinea, along one of the world’s busiest cargo routes. Shipping company Monjasa announced on Friday that the French and Nigerian navies had located the ship and escorted it to a safe port.
The ship and cargo were untouched, which unfortunately suggests ransom demands for the crew are now probably on their way to Monjasa HQ.
Some context: Thought pirates were a thing of the past? Think again. The ICC-International Maritime Bureau’s annual piracy report recorded 115 attacks in 2022. This was actually fewer than in 2021. But cases are rising in Southeast Asia, where around half of all piracy incidents now occur.
Intrigue’s take: Our loyal readers won’t be surprised to learn that the Russo-Ukraine War has, along with everything else, likely exacerbated piracy in West Africa. By forcing Europe to focus its naval resources closer to home (and Russia), the war has arguably left the key Gulf of Guinea trade route more exposed to piracy.
Also worth noting:
- 71% of all maritime kidnappings in 2022 were in the Gulf of Guinea.
- The Danish military sent a frigate to patrol the Gulf of Guinea in 2021, but recalled the ship just before the start of the Russo-Ukraine War.