Papua New Guinea Security Overview
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a high-risk security environment for travelers. Crime in PNG consists of a high number of indiscriminate violent break-ins, hold-ups, muggings, assaults, carjacking’s and sexual assaults. Tribal rivalries and disputes over royalties and benefits from extractive industries motivate violent crime in rural areas. The vast majority of issues are centered in and around the main urban areas. Informal reports identify that piracy is on the rise due to the sheer area of coast, and offshore waters to be patrolled and a severely underfunded, undertrained and, and overstretched Police force.
Papua New Guinea – Maritime Security (MARSEC)
There have been reports of piracy in 2019 (https://www.thenational.com.pg/need-declare-war-pirates/) and in 2018 the Prime Minister identified that piracy in PNG was a concern. Especially in and around the area of Milne Bay (https://www.thenational.com.pg/oneill-admits-piracy-milne-bay-big-concern/)
In January 2019 PNG and Australia initiated a proposal for a joint task force to combat the developing issue (https://postcourier.com.pg/abel-coast-guard-to-curb-sea-piracy/
Informal reports identify that piracy is on the rise due to the sheer area of coast, and offshore waters to be patrolled and a severely underfunded, undertrained and, and overstretched Police force.
The vast majority of pirate issues are not reported, logged or communicated. There is currently a Most Wanted hunt for a renowned Pirate called Tommy Baker who fled police custody and is apparently responsible for a rise of piracy attacks, but these appear to be focused to the South in Port Moresby.
Local security professionals identified that Piracy is a low risk off-shore, but informal reports have heard of small boats, skiff type boats (which are very common) moving to vessels at night in hopes of opportunistic crime, which in PNG can turn violent very quickly.
The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary were presented with many new water crafts vessels of all sizes from partnering countries for APEC last year, however since APEC vessels have remained dormant as RPNGC do not have funds for fuel or qualified and trained boat handlers. Criminal elements are aware of this and therefore conduct armed holdups etc. and head straight to the water’s edge where their getaway vessel is waiting. A growing trend among criminal gangs today.
With regards to visiting yachts and ships the main threat would not be hi-jacking etc. but more like night time sneak and steal methods. Locals can easily swim to docked vessel and board during cover of darkness in an attempt to steal whatever they can get their hands on. If criminals are confronted or threatened in any way they will retaliate with extreme violence.