23 August 2017
News | 30 Jun 2017

Risk Intelligence updates overview for maritime security services in West Africa

Maritime operations in West Africa, especially in the inner Gulf of Guinea, are often complicated by a lack of security. Additional protection measures, both privately contracted or provided by national militaries, therefore continue to be in high demand. At the same time, operators should be aware of potential legal and operational risks when they are using such measures to protect ships, crews and cargoes.

Risk Intelligence has now published the latest guidance on the use of maritime security services in West Africa, including the use of armed guards, escort vessels or secure anchorages. The report is titled Maritime security services in West Africa – legal and operational challenges. It offers a birds-eye view on the situation in 19 countries throughout West and Central Africa, including Nigeria and other coastal states around the Gulf of Guinea.

“Our analysts have gathered extensive experience about the maritime security situation in West Africa. It is a complex picture with different types of threats in different areas,” says Hans Tino Hansen, CEO of Risk Intelligence. “Moreover, legal frameworks are often complicated, creating challenges in terms of risk mitigation. Our report is therefore important for all types of maritime operations throughout West Africa.”

The report provides a comprehensive look at risks related to the use of additional maritime security services in West Africa. Colour-coded tables for all 19 countries – including the coastal and island states between Senegal and Angola – offer a quick overview of the current situation. These are accompanied by explanations and assessments of the efficiency of specific security services against the main threats.

Subscribers will also receive an updated report in December and have access to Risk Intelligence’s West Africa specialists for related questions. The overall cost of this service is 5,000 EUR or 36,000 DKK.

For further information, please contact Risk Intelligence. 

Free Download | 03 Mar 2017

Risk Intelligence publishes Strategic Insights maritime security 2017 forecast issue

Risk Intelligence is making available for free download the concluding issue of its Strategic Insights series. 

Many of the areas reviewed in this issue will be familiar to maritime operators and long-time readers of Strategic Insights: Somalia and Nigeria, for example. But there are also new areas of concern emerging, as well as the return of power politics. One of the themes of this issue, which looks ahead to the challenges in 2017 and beyond, is that developments on land can ‘trickle down’ to the maritime domain. But this is not always the case, and each environment needs to be analysed on a case-by-case basis to completely understand the threat, and if it will affect maritime operations.

Overall, threats may be changing, with new locations emerging and new dynamics affecting operations. There are a number of trends at the macro and micro levels that will have implications in 2017 and beyond. But risks can still be mitigated and the starting point is information – assessments of threats and accompanying analysis. Risk Intelligence continues to provide global overviews on incidents and threats through its upgraded MaRisk 2.0 portal. As well, the PortRisk platform now provides full assessments of the threat environment for 170 ports around the world, and is continuing to add more.

Download here: 

Briefing | 01 Feb 2017

Risk Intelligence publishes maritime security forecast for Nigeria in 2017


Attacks against merchant vessels off Nigeria will remain a problem for ship operators in 2017. Risk Intelligence's maritime security forecast for the country underlines this and several other significant trends for this year. Moreover, the forecast identifies seven types of potential security incidents with varying threat levels.

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has gained some respect for his efforts to tackle corruption but his government has so far failed to diversify the economy. Militancy in the Niger Delta throughout 2016 has increased problems even further and underlined that security and economic challenges are closely related.

For maritime operators, developments since early 2016 hold a mixed picture. Crude oil exports were down while imports of refined products increased due to lower output from domestic refineries. Overall, imports decreased due to the falling exchange rate but exports, particularly of agricultural goods, are likely to increase and bulk carrier operators are the most likely beneficiaries.

The Risk Intelligence maritime security forecast for Nigeria in 2017 has been published in January to users of the Risk Intelligence System (MaRisk+PortRisk), but can now be downloaded for free.

Risk Intelligence offers a broad range of services for maritime operators in West Africa. Our subscription-based services MaRisk and PortRisk provide a detailed overview over maritime security incidents in the region as well as threat assessments for countries, ports and cities. PortRisk currently covers almost 40 ports and offshore facilities in the region. Furthermore, RiskIntelligence offers detailed reports on specific issues such as the use of private maritime security companies in West Africa and provides bespoke threat and environment assessments for maritime operators in the region.

Please contact Risk Intelligence regarding further services and reports.

Download report: 

Press release | 20 Dec 2016

Risk Intelligence updates risk overview for privately contracted maritime security in West Africa


Insecurity at sea is a major challenge for maritime operations in West Africa. Additional protection for ships, crews and cargoes is in high demand but operators often face operational and regulatory risks when they decide to use privately contracted maritime security services in the region. Risk Intelligence has now updated its overview of different types of maritime security provisions – ranging from armed guards to escort vessels and secure anchorages – that are legal in 18 countries throughout the region, including Nigeria and other Gulf of Guinea countries.

“We have provided security analysis for West Africa for more than 10 years,” says Hans Tino Hansen, CEO of Risk Intelligence. “It has always been a complex area with many different types of threats as well as many different types of risk mitigation and legal frameworks. With our report, we provide a clear and comprehensive overview that many maritime operators are looking for.”

The report provides a concise overview of risks related to the use of additional maritime security services in West Africa. For all 18 countries from Senegal to Angola, colour-coded tables provide a quick overview of the current situation, followed by a brief assessment of the efficiency of specific security services against the main threats. In addition, clients have access to Risk Intelligence’s West Africa specialists for questions related to the report, which will be updated every six months.

The cost of the service is 5,000 EUR or 36,000 DKK, which includes two reports (June and December).

Please contact Risk Intellgience for further information. 

Info | 17 Nov 2016

Anniversary: 10th renewal for MaRisk for a number of Risk Intelligence clients


The end of the year marks an important milestone for Risk Intelligence and for a number of our clients as it is the 9th time they are renewing their MaRisk subscription license - and the 10th time including the first sign up.

Some of these clients were with us from an earlier stage and were part of the initial development process back in 2007/2008. Likewise, they again took part in the development of the new Risk Intelligence System. This process led to the launch of PortRisk in October 2015 and the new MaRisk in April this year.

 This anniversary tells me that we must have been doing something right over the years. Well done by the Risk Intelligence staff, who has been pivotal in operating and developing the solution to keep our clients safe. I would also like to thank our clients and partners for their longtime commitment and important feedback - without our close cooperation, Risk Intelligence would not be where we are today. I trust that we will have many more years of cooperation in front of us.

For more information about the Risk Intelligence System (MaRisk+PortRisk) please visit https://new.riskintelligence.eu/ ;

News | 05 Aug 2016

Risk Intelligence launches new weekly Turkey ports & terminals threat assessment report


This week on Tuesday 2 August Risk Intelligence launched the weekly Turkey ports & terminals threat assessment report.

Risk Intelligence started this spring to produce a country threat assessment for Turkey on the Risk Intelligence System and eight ports are being added to the System (PortRisk).

Due to client requets, we also prepared the launch of a weekly report (similar to our weekly Libya and Yemen reports). The weekly report covers 12 ports and the Bosphorus.

The report will be published every Tuesday end of business.

For more information please contact us via the contact forn. 

Press release | 22 Jun 2016

Risk Intelligence launches new service providing overview of operational and regulatory risks of privately contracted maritime security in West Africa


Maritime operations in West Africa are affected by threats from piracy and other maritime crime. It is very complex to get an overview of the different types of maritime security provisions that are legal in the countries throughout the region. Risk Intelligence now provides this insight with a new service, including reports with an overview of the use of private and government security in 18 countries in the region.

Risk Intelligence CEO Hans Tino Hansen: “We have provided security analysis for West Africa for more than 10 years. It has always been a complex area with many different types of threats and many different types of security risk mitigation and legal frameworks. This service and the new report provides a clear and comprehensive overview that many maritime operators have been asking for.”

The new report provides a concise overview of operational and regulatory risks related to the use of additional security services in West Africa. The report covers the use of armed guards and escort vessels provided by private maritime security companies or government security forces as well as additional protection services such as secure anchorages or areas for STS operations.

Colour-coded tables for every country provide a quick overview of the current situation in 18 countries from Senegal to Angola. Moreover, brief assessments of the efficiency of specific security services against the main threats, which maritime operators have to face in the respective region, are included. Overall, the report is a valuable tool for conducting the necessary due diligence prior to contracting additional security services for operations in the region.

In addition, clients will have access to Risk Intelligence’s West Africa specialists for questions related to the report, which will be updated every six months.

"Attempts to transfer the Indian Ocean PMSC model to West Africa have created problems for ship operators, who were made to believe that the solutions involving the use of government security forces on board their ships was "legal" or "approved" and provided the necessary level of security. In many countries in West Africa this is not the case, says Dirk Steffen, Director Maritime Security and head of West Africa Analysis at Risk Intelligence

For questions, please contact:

Dirk Steffen, Director Maritime Security      +45 70 26 62 30

Hans Tino Hansen, CEO                             +45 70 26 62 30 

News | 20 Jun 2016

Strategic Insights Arctic special edition


The special Arctic edition of Risk Intelligence's Strategic Insights (no. 61) has been made available for free download in connection with the Kiel Conference 21 June 2016 "Cool Dispassion or Hot-Button Topic - The High North".

Briefing | 08 Jun 2016

Risk Intelligence publishes a brief Guide to Niger Delta Groups 2016


The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) are Nigeria’s “new” Niger Delta militancy phenomenon. They have issued challenges to the Nigerian government, international oil companies and the military. Within a span of less than 3 months they are believed to be primarily responsible for reducing Nigeria’s oil production from a (theoretical) 2.2m barrels per day to around 1.4m barrels per day by the end of May 2016.

Risk Intelligence's brief "Guide to militant, ex-militant and activist groups in the Niger Delta" gives an overview of the most relevant militant and activits groups that are politically and militarily active in the first half of 2016, their agendas, operating areas and potential links amongst each other.

Please download a free copy: 

Conference | 31 May 2016

Maritime Security Conference: How Does Maritime Security Information Add Value to the Shipping Community?

Copenhagen 25 October 2016

Risk Intelligence aims to address some of the most pressing maritime security challenges facing the Shipping Community. Maritime security threats are evolving and challenges the Shipping Community, making valid maritime security information a major aspect for supporting operations and commercial considerations more than ever before.

Risk Intelligence is proud to announce its third consecutive Maritime Security Conference. This event will be hosted by Clipper Group and organized jointly by the Danish Shipowners’ Association, Oceans Beyond Piracy and Risk Intelligence during Danish Maritime Days 2016. Through presentations and conversations, speakers and participating experts will discuss this year’s theme; “How Does Maritime Security Information Add Value to the Shipping Community?”

The last two conferences have been attended by representatives from governments, the maritime industry, navies and academia, offering a unique forum for networking and exchange of cutting edge ideas and knowledge.

Taking place over three sessions, we will discuss the current maritime security threats and the future improvements to maritime security awareness. This conference will give a broader understanding of how maritime security information support daily operations and commercial opportunities.

Attendance is free but requires RSVP to Senior Project Associate Mr. Jens Vestergaard Madsen, Oceans Beyond Piracy: jvmadsen@obp.ngo 

Briefing | 28 Mar 2016

“Pirates of the Gulf” – a historic find on a Cameroonian beach


Dirk Steffen, Director Maritime Security with BIBIANA (Dirk Steffen)

Easter Sunday held a special surprise find for Risk Intelligence’s Director Maritime Security, Dirk Steffen, while he was travelling along the Cameroonian coast: the former Nigerian pirate vessel BIBIANA beached and abandoned near Kribi.

BIBIANA was part of a two-vessel pirate long-distance tanker hijacking operation in September and October 2014. The vessel departed from Nigeria around 27 September 2014 heading south through Cameroonian and Equatoguinean waters and on to Gabon. Based on reliable information, Risk Intelligence began issuing warnings to its subscribers of MaRisk from 29 September onwards, tracking the vessel’s progress south to a position offshore Port Gentil, where the BIBIANA experienced technical problems. The pirate mother vessel subsequently headed back north in the company of the small tanker SANKOFA, which was meant to be used for the stolen cargo in the planned operation.

The mission was eventually aborted, although the criminals launched an opportunistic attack against the ferry SAN MIGUEL near Equatorial Guinea on 5 October. Although the attackers failed to board the vessel, it galvanised the Cameroonian military into action and on 8 October 2014 the BIBIANA was intercepted by the Cameroonian Batallion d’Intervention Rapide (BIR) near Kribi. 21 Nigerian suspects were arrested; an unknown number of suspects escaped on the SANKOFA. 

Briefing | 08 Jan 2016

Iran and Saudi Arabia Assessment: Scenarios for future developments

(Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf with ports in PortRisk)

Risk Intelligence has Friday 8 January 2016 published a short assessment of the current conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia with three scenarios for possible developments. Each scenario has a section on the impact on shipping and maritime operations.

The likely scenario that the souring in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran will continue at the diplomatic and commercial relations level at least in the short term. This will have minimal impact on the regional maritime security environment, although broader security processes in Syria and Yemen will be affected. Indeed, some escalation in these areas is about as likely as not, perpetuating armed conflict – particularly in Yemen – which does have broader regional implications. Internal security in Saudi Arabia might also be affected, increasing the likelihood of sectarian violence.

Direct naval conflict or even low-level harassment of commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf cannot be ruled out, but is assessed as unlikely currently. Iran has limited if any interests in escalating the conflict in this area and has a broader agenda that involves a re-setting of relations with the US and Europe (and the lifting of sanctions) and pursuing its strategic interests in, particularly, Iraq and Syria. At the same time, Saudi Arabia does not have an interest in escalating the conflict any further or if it does happen the capability of running two armed conflicts at the same time.

The report can be downloaded below 

In the media | 07 Dec 2015

Al Jazeera special Report: The Pirates of Southeast Asia

South East Asia

Special Projects Manager, Karsten von Hoesslin, of Risk Intelligence, features in this two part special report by Al Jazeera on the Pirates of the Malacca Straight. The report focusses on the rise of piracy in the waters of Southeast Asia, where, so far, this year, the number of reported incidents has already exceeded the total of 2013. Karsten von Hoesslin provides an insight into the incentives and trade of the pirates.

The Al Jazeera report can be watched here; part 1, part 2

News | 24 Nov 2015

Use of Nigerian Navy for private security remains subject to severe restrictions


The current practice of using Nigerian Navy (and Nigerian security forces in general) is coming under review by the Buhari presidency. The past and current Navy Chiefs of Staff have endeavoured to curtail activities which they feel is hollowing out the Navy’s capabilities without providing adequate returns. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) governs the conditions under which private security companies may access Nigerian Navy personnel.

In a nutshell: articles 5 and 6 of the Memorandum stipulate that any vessels upon which Nigerian Navy personnel is embarked must be "approved and inspected" by the Nigerian Navy, capable of taking a mounted weapon and be entered in the Nigerian fleet list. Only then is it allowed to contract navy personnel to man these vessels. It appears likely that the legal review undertaken by the current presidency will focus on compliance with the MoU.

The vast majority of MoU holders in Nigeria violate these stipulation by embarking navy personnel directly on client ships. There has been misleading guidance to the effect that the following is adequate in order to provide armed security in Nigerian waters:

  • A Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps license (for guard companies)
  • An MoU in the name of the PMSC
  • A  NIMASA license to operate as a Guard Force Security company in the Maritime Sector
  • A Certificate of incorporation in Nigeria
  • Evidence of an expatriate quota

Whilst this documentation is necessary to operate as a maritime security company, it does not in itself provide authorisation for embarking Nigerian Navy personnel on merchant vessels. Furthermore, the NSCDC license is reserved for unarmed guard services, hence all authorisation to operate hinges on compliance with the MoU. It is incorrect to use the term “legal”, since no legislation in Nigeria exists that regulates armed maritime security activity. Using authorisations other than that provided by the Navy Chief of Staff (through the MoU) and failure to comply with the stipulations of the MoU creates the risk of detentions and fines for ship operators.

Lastly, it should be remembered that the embarkation of armed security in the configuration of three to four man teams with light weapons provides little to no deterrence for those attackers which pose the greatest risk. Numerous firefights with casualties and boardings including kidnappings have demonstrated the increased risk by using embarked Nigerian security forces, e.g.:

  • PYXIS DELTA (4 February 2013, Lagos) – one crewmember was killed in the crossfire between embarked security forces and attackers.
  • SP BRUSSELS (29 April 2014, Niger Delta) – one crewmember was killed, one severely injured when two Nigerian Police Force embarked on the ship failed to prevent a boarding by pirates.
  • SEA STERLING (26 August 2014, Niger Delta) – no casualties, but attackers managed to briefly board the vessel against the resistance of two Nigerian Navy ratings before a Nigerian Navy patrol vessel appeared on the scene.
  • SEA VOYAGER (5 November 2014, Niger Delta) – possibly two naval ratings killed or injured when armed attackers boarded the ship. The soldiers fled into the citadel.
  • JASCON 24 (23 January 2015, Niger Delta) – one naval rating was killed on the vessel which was actually functioning as a “security vessel” for an offshore oil & gas operation. The attackers managed to board the vessel and engaged the soldiers in a firefight. Two of the four soldiers embarked on the vessel fled into the citadel.
  • KALAMOS (3 February 2015, Niger Delta) – one crewmember was killed by a Nigerian Navy rating who disobeyed the master’s order to hold fire during a hostage stand-off on the ship’s bridge. The attackers had boarded the ship undetected by the crew or the security detachment.

This guidance has just been published on Risk Intelligence's Intelligence System http://new.riskintelligence.eu/
For any questions please contact us via the contact form or by phone. 

Press release | 03 Sep 2015

Maritime Security Challenges to be Addressed During Danish Maritime Days 6 October

Piracy and armed robbery against ships, corruption, and illegal trafficking are well-known maritime security challenges – now it is time to find solutions. On Tuesday, October 6th, an international conference organized for the second year in a row by the Danish Shipowners’ Association, Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), and Risk Intelligence, in cooperation with Clipper, will focus on the biggest and most pressing maritime security challenges facing the maritime industry and governments maritime security and aims to find new solutions to address these threats. 

At the conference, which is a part of Danish Maritime Days, international maritime experts from both the public and private sectors will discuss regional maritime security challenges in West Africa and Southeast Asia – as well as identify opportunities for governments and the maritime industry to work together to address threats to maritime security. The agenda includes international keynote speakers, expert presentations, panel discussions, and workshops with a particular emphasis on interactive sessions aimed at engaging all participants and including their expertise and knowledge in the conference outputs.

“This year’s theme for the conference is ‘Regional Maritime Security Challenges and Opportunities for Governments and Industry’. It’s a unique opportunity that we can gather so many participants from the maritime sector with a shared interest in a common effort to address some of the most pressing maritime security challenges,” says Hans Tino Hansen, CEO of Risk Intelligence, who will provide a presentation outlining the current status of global maritime security challenges.

The recent increase in maritime piracy and armed robbery against ships in Southeast Asia, and persistent high levels of maritime crime in West Africa, are indications that addressing these costly threats to international trade and seafarers need fresh thinking and clear strategies. ”Security is extremely important for governments, shipping companies, seafarers, and everybody who works in the maritime sector – therefore it is crucial that we meet to discuss challenges and how  we in common can solve them. That is rarely done across governmental and private stakeholders – which is why this conference is so important,” says Morten Glamsø, Senior Advisor at the Danish Shipowners’ Association.

Last year’s conference attracted more than 90 participants from 12 different countries, representing both public and private organizations and agencies, to discuss the effects of maritime crime on economic growth and development in Africa. “The conclusions last year showed that there are important lessons to be learned from the successful international effort to address Somali piracy. These must be retained in order to avoid a resurgence in attacks off the Horn of Africa, but may also have applications in other regions” says Jens Vestergaard Madsen, Senior Project Associate at OBP.

The conference takes place on October 6th from 0930 to 1615 at Clipper House in Copenhagen, and will be followed by an informal reception and networking session. Attendance is free, but registration is required and space is limited. More information about the agenda, speakers and how to register can be found at http://ow.ly/Rd7Lw