The French expertise center dedicated to the worldwide maritime security.

A center of expertise

The Maritime Information Cooperation & Awareness Center (MICA Center) is the French analysis and assessment center for worldwide security of maritime areas.

A steady monitoring

The MICA Center is 24/7 monitoring, assessing and alerts incidents that affect worldwide maritime security by the collaborative work of about thirty experts from French and foreign partner navies.

A worldwide vocation

Working with centers of expertise and agencies spread from all over the world, the MICA Center has trust-based relationships with the worldwide maritime industry.

Latest news

Thursday, 07th January 2020 : Publication of the second MICA Center annual report on worldwide maritme piracy and robbery

For the second consecutive year, the Maritime Information Cooperation & Awareness Center (MICA Center) publishes an annual review of maritime piracy and robbery events. This report identifies and characterises the events recorded in 2020 that affect maritime security worldwide.

The total number of events related to maritime piracy and robbery has remained stable over the last five years. With 375 events reported worldwide, it is still almost half the peak number reached in 2011, at the height of the attacks off the coast of Somalia. For the year 2020, the MICA Center notes a slight increase in the number of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea but no increase in the number of people kidnapped. It confirms that piracy off the Horn of Africa remains at a low level and that robbery is on the rise in the Caribbean arc and in South-East Asia (increase in thefts).

The MICA Center is a centre for the analysis and assessment of the maritime security situation, but also a unit that centralises alerts in the event of an attack at sea. It collects and relays useful information to partners who subscribe to its free services. This annual report summarises the assessments regularly transmitted to maritime industry actors and analyses the trends observed as well as the evolution of modes of action.

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Gulf of Guinea : Large increase in acts of piracy and robbery during November

In accordance with the calls for vigilance issued as the dry season approaches[1], the increase in acts of piracy and robbery observed in November confirms the trend of recent years. Indeed, 18 incidents were reported in the Gulf of Guinea during the period, 7 more than the previous month. This increase is mainly due to a growing number of attacks and boardings of ships.

These last events took place mainly in the JWLA[2], up to 170 nautical miles offshore. They mostly affected oil tankers and fishing vessels, however all types of vessels remain concerned and are invited to apply the measures of the Best Management Practice West Africa.

The total number of crew members kidnapped at sea rose to 36 in November alone. The latest incidents show that a quick retreat from the citadel by the crew can prevent kidnappings.

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11 of November 2020 : Annick Girardin, Minister of the Sea visits the MICA Center.

On November 11th, Vice-Admiral Olivier Lebas welcomed Mrs. Annick Girardin, Minister of the Sea, at the Maritime Prefecture.

The Minister’s passage in Brest enabled her to visit the MICA Center.  The missions and workings of the centre were presented during the morning.

The relations between the maritime industry and the French Navy, through the Coopération Navale Volontaire (CNV) were first described.

International cooperation, with examples such as the European Union’s anti-piracy mission “ATALANTA” and bilateral Franco-British cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea, was then presented.

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European cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea

On October 22, 2020 at 07h58Z, while sailing in international waters in the Gulf of Guinea, tanker ERRINA issued an SSAS warning and its crewmembers locked themselves in the ship’s citadel. Starting then, all attempts to contact the ship failed. The Italian Multi-Missions Frigate NAVE FEDERICO MARTINENGO reached the position given by the MDAT-GoG in the afternoon and searched the area using its helicopter to no avail.

In the evening, the shipowner informed the MDAT-GoG of the last known position of ERRINA before the SSAS warning signal. The participants in the search were then reoriented toward that position. On October 23, 2020 at 08h00Z, the helicopter of the Italian Frigate established VHF communications with the tanker. The ship’s captain testified to a boarding by six pirates but all crew was safe and accounted for. A ship armed with a security team from the Nigerian Navy then escorted the tanker.