Jack Sparrow, that you? The latest threat of piracy in the shipping industry and how to avoid it


No, no, this isn’t a Pirates of the Caribbean movie review, rather a real life occurrence.

It has been said that the number of pirate attacks against shipping vessels have decreased over the last decade however, recent reports have shown that maritime piracy is still an ongoing, and serious issue.


Piracy in itself is an act of robbery and criminal violence by ship-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically intending to steal cargo or other valuable items. The earliest documented instances of piracy date back to the 14th century BC in the Aegean and Mediterranean waters. According to Statista, 195 ships were attacked by pirates worldwide in 2020 and 132 in 2021 . In spite of the figures decreasing significantly since 2010, where there were 445 attacks, the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) statistics showed a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2020.


The Gulf of Guinea, a particularly dangerous area for cargo shipment, reported 130 kidnapped sailors over 22 incidents in 2020.The area has experienced a worrying rise in crew kidnappings and also faces an increased rate of 80% of attackers that were fully armed. Additionally, in the beginning of January, 2021, four armed pirates boarded the Mozart, a Turkish container ship, off Nigeria’s coast in the Gulf of Guinea. The attack was said to be thoroughly thought out and sophisticated involving guns and even explosives. The pirates kidnapped and assaulted 15 crew members on board at the time, resulting in the death of one crew member.


Attacks such as the Mozart attack, emphasize that piracy is still very well an urgent concern for the shipping industry, not only because of the incidents that continue to take place but also the rise in sophistication and violence that characterize those incidents. Therefore, evidently, there is growing international demand to find more effective ways to protect shippers and cargo.


From the sea all the way to the shore, oddly enough there is such a thing as the “porch pirates”. According to ValuePenguin, cases show that nearly 4 in 10 shoppers have had a delivery stolen directly from their private property before they could get a hold of it (Jack Sparrow on the mainland?) It seems as though every neighborhood and apartment doorstep has become somewhat a shopping mall for the porch pirates, especially with the increase in on demand delivery services. Whether in the ocean or on the mainland, cargo and package theft is costing consumers money, time and energy so what do we suggest? Firstly, take on a few taekwondo lessons because you never know when a whole crew of pirates are going to rock up (only kidding, but why not), secondly, carefully consider where you’ll have your packages delivered in the first place and lastly, ensure you’re using a secure delivery technology that can ensure your orders arrive to their allocated destination.


Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer-turned-Youtuber earned great appreciation in 2018 in light of his glitter bomb booby trap designed specifically for those same delivery pirates. He spent nearly a year designing a new and improved version of his “Home Alone” inspired revenge trap with aims of minimizing the theft occurring throughout the U.S. His own personal experience led him to invent the device after a package worth $5 was taken right off his front doorstep. Rober’s intentions for creating the device were “relatively harmless” however needless to say, he had pure intent of discouraging the grinch inspired pirates to think twice about the next package they plan on stealing, check our Rober’s channel here.


With the rise in new, modern and easily accessible technology, criminals targeting any phase of the shipment are now becoming smarter and bolder. Autonomous ships are considered the next big thing in the maritime industry and with the absence of a licensed crew, the chances of pirate attacks are minimized, however ships carrying valuable cargo could potentially become inviting targets of cyber-piracy. Luckily enough, a promising solution for cargo theft comes in the form of blockchain technology which has gained worldwide recognition for its ability to record and keep track of transactions. Companies that offer solutions for documentation and use unique item tracking numbers, such as Lazzy (http://www.lazzy.com), are undoubtedly beneficial for the success of any delivery operation. Such advanced technology could greatly assist in managing and tracking millions of shipping containers across the world by digitizing the process from end-to-end and minimizing standard delivery time.


Cover image retrieved from: https://unsplash.com/photos/JDJSYsmdB9w








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