The annual State of Maritime Piracy Report from Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) is always eagerly received by industry, governments, security service providers and politicians, to gauge the current state of and costs associated with worldwide piracy. The message portrayed in the 2016 report is irrevocably clear – piracy has not gone away and costs slightly more in 2016 than it did in 2015 – again, with the shipping industry bearing the brunt of the costs. The brunt of the continued trend in reduction being due to the reduction in Bunker costs and, the reduction in the number of armed guards deployed and their actual costs.
The 2016 State of Maritime Piracy Report from OBP once again confirms piracy continues almost unabated and the costs involved in tackling the issues are as high now as they have ever been. The report provides unambiguous evidence of the need for industry to carry out voyage risk assessments and to adhere to recommended best practices, to protect their assets when conducting operations at sea and alongside, in all areas which are prone to piracy and armed robbery. Having evidence in the form of statistics and collated reports allows value added information to be passed on to CSOs, and Masters of ships to continually review and update best practices, many of which are common to all areas prone to this maritime crime.
The 2016 report is once again clearly thought out and well-structured. It captures regional nuances and exposes the huge costs associated with protecting merchant ships and seamen across the globe. The calculations used throughout the report have been double checked within BIMCO and are as accurate as can be deemed possible. Assumptions when made, have been calculated at a modest rate taking a lower than mean average whenever required. This is considered more than adequate for accuracy but still portrays the precise scale of economic and human costs.
BIMCO’s ambition remains the minimisation and eventual eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea. Only then will freedom of navigation be assured without the need for additional self-protective measures and additional insurance premiums. By identifying the cost of piracy in all its forms, and its impact, attention is drawn to the plight of seafarers and the continued need of governments, and all other stakeholders in counter piracy, to remain focused on dealing with what remains a global scourge.
There is no doubt that the 2016 OBP annual report carries some heavy punches but many attacks continue to go unreported therefore the true cost of maritime piracy may continue to rise on discovery for many years to come.
Secretary General & CEO, BIMCO