USPA Nationwide Security has seen an uptick in Armed Maritime Security services worldwide
Piracy incidents across the world have doubled in 2020 due to the coronavirus, according to a report by Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). Attacks are taking place in the Singapore Strait, Bangladesh, India, Mexico, West Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and the South China Sea. “Small crimes, if not addressed, can embolden criminals to commit more serious acts,” ReCAAP’s executive director Masafumi Kuroki told the BBC.
“Sometimes the pirates are local fishermen who see piracy as a way to supplement their incomes. In other parts of Asia, many are jobless young men who have travelled to Indonesia or other places looking for work,” a scholar of sea piracy at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville told the BBC.
Michael Evans, CEO of USPA Nationwide Security, a prominent Maritime Security Firm operating in pirate ridden hotspots, told us, “Pirate attacks have surged in place like West Africa since early 2020. Reduction of global trade, thereby affecting employment equates to surges in piracy,” Evans stated. “Recently, pirates attacked a vessel in Gulf of Guinea kidnapping several crew members.”
Evans is referring to a cargo vessel that was targeted by pirates in the waters off Benin. In the latest incident, another maritime security firm, Dryad, reported that heavily armed pirates boarded a Pacific International Lines cargo vessel. Five Chinese nationals were reportedly kidnapped from the Singapore-flagged vessel. Pacific International said it was working with local authorities.
According to Sondae Esposito, VP of USPA Nationwide Security, “The Gulf of Guinea has been an ongoing hotspot for pirate attacks.” The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau’s 2019 annual piracy report reported “an alarming increase in crew kidnappings across the Gulf of Guinea.” The number of crew kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea increased more than 50% percent in 2019, equating to over 90% of global kidnappings at sea.