The limits of the AP Area are defined as the waters within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Venezuela and includes the offshore installations that are operating within that area and internal waterways including the Maracaibo Channel and the Orinoco River.
The AP Area was declared in response to a number of expropriations of ships and other maritime assets by the Venezuelan government via its national shipping and port companies.
Incidents of piracy and banditry have been reported in a variety of Venezuelan ports and waterways including Puerto la Cruz, Barcelona City and the Maracaibo Channel.
For example, it has been reported by one of the Group P&I clubs that bandits take advantage of the darkness of the night and lack of vigilance to climb aboard ships at anchor off Barcelona City. The area is some distance away from any population, harbour and naval bases. They reported been cases in which the crews have been gagged, threatened with high calibre weapons and believe the bandits are willing to kill in order to get what they want.
IMB reports maritime kidnapping at a 10 year high
More crew were kidnapped at sea in 2016 than in any of the previous 10 years. The ICC International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) annual piracy report published on the 10th January reveals a three-fold increase in kidnappings since 2015 despite global piracy reaching its lowest levels since 1998.
Venezuela reopens ports to vessels from Curacao and Aruba
Venezuelan Port Control has lifted its recent port restrictions which prohibited entry to ships arriving from Aruba or Curacao, or flagged to those countries.