Piracy: The Caribbean still plagued by acts of piracy!


The number of acts of piracy and robbery in the world increased slightly in 2020 despite the health crisis, reveals the MICA Center, the French center of expertise dedicated to maritime security. In the Caribbean, pleasure craft are primarily targets of thieves.

"Failing to mitigate the commitment of pirates and brigands in their illicit activities, the health crisis will have contributed to its maintenance", notes Admiral Pierre Vandier, Chief of Staff of the Army, in the preamble of the balance sheet presented.


The health crisis did not spare the pirates

The United Nations estimated in November that global maritime traffic would decline by 4,1% in 2020 due to disruptions related to the health crisis.

The number of acts of piracy (act of violence committed for private purposes, on the high seas (outside territorial waters) and of robbery (unlawful act, committed for private purposes against a ship, or against persons or property in its edge, in internal waters, archipelagic waters or the territorial sea of ​​a State) in the world was established in 2020 at 375, against 360 in 2019, according to the report of this center of information, coordination and alert created in 2016 in Brest.

However, this figure remains well below the peaks reached in 2011, at the height of the attacks off Somalia, with 669 events.

The Gulf of Guinea, with 114 events (111 in 2019), remains the most dangerous area in the world and acts of piracy now extend from the coast of Ghana to the coast of Equatorial Guinea.

A total of 142 sailors were kidnapped in this area in 2020 (146 in 2019) with an average detention period of 30 days.

In the Indian Ocean, the number of events (55 in 2020 against 25 a year earlier), although relatively low, is increasing largely due to an increase in anchorages in the Bay of Bengal.

In South-East Asia, brigandage is on the rise, particularly in the Straits of Singapore and Malacca. Of the 96 events recorded in 2020, 50 indeed concern these straits where groups of thieves approach ships to steal equipment.


 Boaters, targets of thieves in the Caribbean

The number of acts of brigandage in Latin America - down compared to 2019 with 135 events - remains high with 109 acts against maritime trade. While yachting remains the target of thieves who are rampant throughout the West Indian region. Thefts occur mainly without violence aboard sailboats and yachts at anchor.

The number of acts of robbery is rising sharply in 2020. Thefts take place mainly on commercial vessels at anchor in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The brigands are equipped with bladed weapons and sometimes firearms which they use to intimidate the crews.

Despite a significant drop in the number of events reported on certain islands, the entire West Indian region remains an area in which numerous acts of robbery take place against pleasure craft. Thefts mainly occur at anchor and the brigands act discreetly. The most affected islands in 2020 are Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (11 incidents), the Dominican Republic (6 incidents), the Netherlands Antilles (6 incidents) and Martinique (5 incidents). However, Guadeloupe has recorded several incidents in Sainte-Anne, Gosier and Pointe-à-Pitre.

The MICA Center (Maritime Information Cooperation & Awareness Center), housed in the Atlantic Maritime Prefecture, is responsible for supporting shipowners, companies and maritime stakeholders. It is made up of around thirty personnel from the French Navy and navies from partner countries and monitors global maritime traffic 7/7.

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