Gulf of Aden
What is the actual risk to shipping security in the Gulf of Aden?
Whether the explanation of current events in the Gulf of Aden is attributable to human trafficking, the influence of maritime terrorism, the over-reporting of approaches cautiously labelled as suspicious or against all indications, a resurgence in Gulf of Aden piracy, it is prudent that a full and thorough analysis of events is conducted. Establishing a narrative which explains the maritime security events in the Gulf of Aden so far in 2020 is complicated but may yield a bold and potentially uncomfortable conclusion.
With approximately 33,000 transits annually through the Gulf of Aden and the vast majority of the very low incident reporting amounting to little more than reports of what could be irregular maritime traffic, it is clear that the assertion that piracy, in its traditional form at least, no longer presents the most significant risk to shipping in the Indian Ocean remains. Further still, current data, when compared with 2019 and provided with context, suggests that despite the increased volume of reporting, there has not been a corresponding increase in risk profile to the region.
It is essential that companies have access to independent and impartial risk analysis which supports them to understand and mitigate risk in a cost effective and sustainable manner, whilst ensuring crew safety. With an ever increasing volume of companies looking to reduce their dependency on the AST model, both as a result of the reduction in risk and the pressures of a post COVID-19 trading environment, it is increasingly essential that companies have access to independent analysis that cuts through simplistic media-reinforced narratives that drive an over-reliance on commercially punitive mitigations. With the risk to vessels more dynamic and less clear than any other time in history, the issue of crew safety has never been more important.