Thorleif Thorleifsson

Piracy and Anti Shipping Activity Messengers

In a world where trade, economies and populations are growing fast, the long‐term availability of cost‐effective, efficient, environmentally sustainable, safe and secure maritime transport services is crucial.

Article 101 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) sets out the definition of piracy under international law, as follows:

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

1) Any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

a) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft.

b) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State.

2) Any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft.

3) Any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph 1) or 2).

Therefore you will find Anti-shipping Activity Messages distributed on locations (in the Maritime Optima maps). The messages are updated every 24 hours and you will find all the adverse events against ships and mariners reported during the last 365 days.

From the 1st of January to the 10th of March 2021 42 adverse events have been reported. Gulf of Guinea accounts for 95% of recent kidnappings at sea (2020). According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), there were 135 maritime kidnappings recorded in 2020 —and 130 of them took place in the Gulf of Guinea.

During 2020:  272
During 2019:   154
During 2018:   161
During 2017:   355
During 2016:   320

Anti-shipping Activity Messages (ASAM) in Maritime Optima include the locations, date and descriptive accounts of specific hostile acts against ships and mariners. The reports may be useful for recognition, prevention and avoidance of potential hostile activity.

In 2020, according to Bloomberg: 95% of the 135 seafarers seized worldwide were kidnapped in the gulf, a vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Senegal to Angola, in 22 separate incidents, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Hostages are usually taken to Nigeria, where ransoms are negotiated.

Piracy maps in Maritime Optima

In Maritime Optima you will find different type of LNG and LPG vessels, different type of dry cargo vessels, tankers, chemicals, oil service etc. Thus you can track the vessels in real-time and see where they are heading.

If you are working with MR tanker vessels you can add the "MR tanker sub-segment" to your map and create and add lists of your vessels. If you hover over the vessels, you will find information about their positions, last time we have observed them, where they are heading and technical information.

Create your personalised maps and use the map layers in Maritime Optima so you can monitor what you find is important.


You can find an overview of the international legal framework and multilateral cooperation to combat piracy in this UNCTAD document:

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