Maritime piracy in the world: a dormant threat?

Interview with Captain Eric LAVAULT, Commander of the SIRPA Marine (Navy’s information and public relations service) invited by TV5 Monde to talk about piracy in the world and more particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, the epicenter of the phenomenon.

3rd of September 2020 : French Navy Chief of Staff visits the MICA Center.

Admiral Pierre Vandier, the French Navy’s Chief of Staff since 1st september, payed a visit to Brest to preside over the military ceremony for the inauguration of vice-admiral Olivier Lebas, the new maritime Prefect.

Admiral Vandier took advantage of his presence at the Préfecture Maritime to visit the MICA Center.

This lent us the opportunity to present to him the specificities of our organisation. These characteristics linked to the peculiarities of the various cells that make it up, such as the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) or the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHoA) of the European operation Atalanta have been detailed.

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MDAT-GoG “Six-months” publication

In support of the Yaoundé Process, the MDAT-GoG, the Franco-British mechanism created in 2016, provides a permanent and coherent picture of the maritime security situation in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea.

In particular, its role is to alert all actors of the maritime industry of events occurring in the voluntary reporting area.

Thus, thanks to the reporting of ships and its network of contacts established in the Gulf countries, the MDAT-GoG has become the reference in the collect and dissemination of information related to the security of ships operating in the Gulf of Guinea.

All the events are listed in the “weekly” and “monthly” reports which can be downloaded from the MDAT-GoG website (see “partners” tab).  But the MDAT-GoG also produces the “six-months”. This document has just been published and it includes all the events that took place between 1 January and 30 June 2020.

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European-Led Maritime Awareness in the Strait Of Hormuz (EMASOH)

In 2019, growing insecurity and instability, which has resulted in numerous maritime incidents, have been observed in the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, resulting in increased regional tensions in this area that is essential to global stability. This situation is also affecting trade and energy supplies, which may have economic worldwide consequences.

In this context, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal have decided to establish an European Maritime Surveillance Mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) to maintain freedom of navigation in the area.

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The MICA Center at your side

The world is going through a huge crisis, all men, women are asking themselves questions, and so seafarers are asking themselves questions about their situation.

Faced with the health crisis that we are going through, the MICA Center is more than ever at the side of the maritime industry.

Because it is essential to be well informed and well protected during this exceptional situation, we remain mobilized to ensure the continuity of our missions at your service, accompanying and advising you 24/7, as we have been doing for several years. (Contacts)


The MICA Center invites you to read and apply the advice given in the BMP WA.

The maritime security situation off the west coast of Africa is complex. The BMP WA is written and published to assist ships and mariners in adopting behavior that should prevent them from becoming victims of maritime incidents in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea.

In particular, the publication aims to assist ships in planning their voyage and in detecting, avoiding, deterring, delaying and reporting attacks against them.

The consequences of the lack of effective security measures can be serious, as some pirates subject their crews to ill-treatment and long periods of captivity.

Other attacks demonstrate that, even if kidnapping is unsuccessful, there is evidence of intentions to damage ships, seize cargo and endanger lives.

Download the BMP WA HERE.

March 29, 2020: First anniversary for the MSCHoA in Brest

The Maritime Security Center-Horn of Africa (MSCHoA) is the interface between the civilian maritime world and the European Union’s military counter-piracy operation ATALANTA, which deploys a maritime task force off the Somali coast for almost 12 years.

This centre monitors merchant ships sailing in the region, spreads the threat of piracy off the Horn of Africa and relays the alert in the event of an attack.

It has been co-located with the military command in Northwood, Great Britain, since the beginning of the operation in 2008. In March 2019, BREXIT resulted in the relocation of this headquarters to Rota (Spain) for the military command and to Brest for the MSCHoA.

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MDAT-GoG: +33 (0) 298 228 888 /

It is recommended that vessels register and report any suspicious incidents or activities they observe as soon as possible. This will help to reduce incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

On Thursday 5 and Friday 6 March 2020, three piracy incidents were recorded in the Gulf of Guinea, the epicentre of global maritime piracy.

The MDAT-GoG has been proactive in relaying information as soon as possible.

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Gulf of Guinea : a pirate attack fails off Sao Tome

On the 14th of February 2020, the container ship Maersk Tema detected a suspicious small craft as she sailed 100 nautical miles (185 km) North-West of Sao Tome. The Marshall Islands flagged Maersk Tema transits between Pointe-Noire (Congo) and Lagos (Nigeria).

Immediately, 17 of the 21 crew members retreated in the citadel (a secret and secured stronghold on the ship), enabling them to escape from capture. The captain and three crew members staid on the bridge to make deflection maneuvers, like zigzags, with the aim to prevent the boarding. Despite these maneuvers, the pirates finally boarded the container ship. The team that had remained on the bridge and the captain quickly joined the citadel.

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Thursday, 13th february 2020: Admiral Danish Fleet visit to MICA Center

The Royal Danish Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Torben Mikkelsen, was in Brest on Thursday 13th of February to meet the Admiral Commander-in-Chief for the Atlantic (CECLANT). The discussions focused on various subjects including maritime security for the benefit of the merchant navy.

The Admiral was very interested by his visit to the MICA Center. He has shown a particular interest to the French approach of maritime security through the Voluntary Maritime Cooperation.

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