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Nigeria overtook Indonesia in global piracy incidents in the maritime sector, accounting for one out of every four reported cases in 2018, according to the latest report by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, a global corporate insurance carrier and a key business unit of Allianz Group.

The report also revealed that Nigeria’s port saw the highest number of reported cases of stowaways on commercial vessels.

AGCS provides global marine and shipping insurance for all types of marine risks, from single vessels and shipments to the most complex fleet and multinational logistics businesses.

The marine line of business contributed 11 per cent to AGCS’ overall premium volume of €8.2bn in 2018.

In the report entitled ‘Allianz: Shipping losses lowest this century, but incident numbers remain high’, which was obtained by our correspondent, it stated, “The number of piracy incidents around the world increased by 12 per cent year-on-year to 201 in 2018. Given that 2017’s total of 180 incidents was the lowest total for 22 years, the 2018 piracy count still represents an 18 per cent decrease in incidents from five years ago (2014:245).

“Increased activity in the Gulf of Guinea (more than 70 incidents overall) is responsible for Nigeria replacing Indonesia as the top global hotspot for piracy, accounting for 48 incidents or almost one in four of all reported cases globally. Many crews are kidnapped and taken into Nigeria where they are held for ransom.

“Pirates in Nigeria have also demonstrated their capabilities further out at sea by hijacking a tanker around 100 nautical miles off Point Noire, Congo in October 2018. The safety of the crew continues to be a major cause of concern. The hijacking and boarding of vessels are still tied to inequality and the economic situation in parts of Africa and Asia, which together account for more than three in four cases globally.”

On its report on security threats and challenges, it noted that political risk had heightened around the globe and increasingly posed a threat to shipping security, trade and supply chains through conflicts, territorial disputes, cyber-attacks, sanctions, piracy and even sabotage, as evidenced by recent attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East.

It stated, “The growing number of migrants at sea and an increase in stowaways on commercial vessels also has serious consequences for ship owners, leading to delays, diversions and pressure on the crew. Lagos, Nigeria, was the port which saw the highest number of reported incidents.”

Other global highlights of the report showed that for safety and shipping review in 2019, there were 46 large ships lost worldwide in 2018, down by a record 50 per cent annually and 55 per cent below the 10-year average of 104.

The report stated, “In 2018, 46 total losses of vessels were reported around the shipping world, down from 98, 12 months earlier, driven by a significant decline in activity in the global loss hotspot, South East Asia, and weather-related losses (10) halving after the quieter hurricane and typhoon seasons.

“While this plummet in total losses is encouraging, the number of reported shipping incidents overall (2,698 in 2018) shows a little decline – less than one per cent year-on-year. “Machinery damage is the major cause, accounting for more than a third of the 26,000+ incidents over the past decade – twice as many as the next highest cause, collision. Machinery damage is one of the most expensive causes of marine insurance claims, accounting for $1bn+ in five years.”

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