January 2018 has seen over 20 reported piracy related incidents
Piracy related incidents in the HRA of the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the south of the Red Sea have largely consisted of suspicious approaches from unidentified vessels.
The vigilance of the crew and security teams on board these approached vessels have been key in preventing the situations escalating any further.
Taking more general factors into consideration, there continues to be severe drought conditions affecting Somalia, South-East Ethiopia and North-East Kenya. The drought has taken hold of the countries for over 6 months now and is perpetuating the existing social-economic struggles of the region. It is possible that the dire situation may trigger a surge in pirate activities off the Horn of Africa in the coming months.
Additionally, there has been significant activity off the West coast of Africa in the past couple of weeks, with 2 merchant tankers being hijacked and held by pirates for a number of days, before being released, with crew and cargo safe and well. This is evidence of the level of organisation and capabilities of the pirate groups carrying out these operations.