Navy arrests 17 suspected pirates, destroys militant camps

Patrick Odey

The Nigerian Navy, NNS Jubilee, located in the Ikot-Abasi Local Government area of Akwa Ibom State said it has arrested 17 suspected sea pirates and destroyed 15 militant camps during its anti-piracy and anti-sea robbery operations within the last six months.

The Commander, Abdulmajid Ibrahim, during a briefing on Thursday, said the destruction of the camps was made possible through the penetration of about 1,800 creeks within the jurisdiction of the base.

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Source: punchng.com

Nigeria’s navy to toughen punishment for collusion with kidnappers

By ,

ABUJA/LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria’s navy plans to strengthen its measures to root out and punish personnel who collude with kidnappers and criminals, its new naval chief said.

Kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea, which covers 2.3 million sq km and borders some 20 countries, hit a record last year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

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Source: reuters.com

CSIS: A Transatlantic Approach to Address Growing Maritime Insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea

Written by Pierre Morcos

The recent news headline said it all: “Pirates kidnap 15 Turkish sailors in attack on container ship” off the Nigerian coast in the Gulf of Guinea. A vast maritime zone of 2.3 million square kilometers and 5700 kilometers of coastline with considerable economic wealth, the Gulf of Guinea has recently been plagued by a succession of acts of piracy, making this maritime space one of the most dangerous and unstable in the world.

While Europe and the United States have been engaged in the region for many years, this deteriorating security situation requires renewed transatlantic engagement. In a context of repeated calls for a renewed partnership between Washington and Europe, the Gulf of Guinea could be a prime candidate for demonstrating the benefits of transatlantic collaboration.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za

Pirate action group believed to be operating in Gulf of Guinea

A pirate action group (PAG) has been operating along the West African coast since 6 February and is believed to be using a captured Chinese fishing vessel.

According to Praesidium International, as of 9 February, following the possible kidnapping of 18 Chinese nationals from a fishing boat on 7 February, the PAG is believed to be located south of Delta State within the Nigerian/Sao Tomé & Principe area and proceeding northbound. All vessels sailing south of Brass (Nigeria) could encounter the PAG and should increase vigilance over the next 24 hours, Praesidium warned.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za

West Africa Pirates and Need for NATO Intervention

There is need for North Atlantic Treaty Organization and some governments, at the highest level, to be more engage in finding a long-term solution to the crisis. International community should remain committed in the efforts of taking concrete actions towards protecting the vessels and crew operating in the Gulf of Guinea. We cannot continue to allow crews to be taken hostage, a situation which is simply unacceptable.

The Gulf of Guinea comprises 20 countries. 20,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Guinea a year. 130 sailors were kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea in the year 2020. 95% of global piracy occurred in the Gulf of Guinea in 2020. Piracy threat grows off the coast of West Africa.

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Source: nigerianobservernews.com

EU Moves to Take Control of Maritime Security in Gulf of Guinea

Eromosele Abiodun

After all efforts by governments around the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) to stop piracy, kidnapping for ransom and organised crime failed, the European Union (EU) has announced the launch of the pilot case of the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) concept in the vast area.

This was contained in a document containing the outcome of proceedings approved by the European Union Council at its meeting held on 25 January 2021, which was seen by THISDAY.

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Source: thisdaylive.com

Shipowner Makes Contact With Kidnapped Crew of the Boxship Mozart

The 15 crewmembers who were kidnapped from the boxship Mozart last weekend are unharmed, Turkish vessel operator Boden Shipping said in a statement Thursday.

“Boden Shipping communicated with the crew members of the container ship Mozart, which was hijacked off Sao Tome on Jan. 23, 2021,” the company said in a statement provided to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

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Source: maritime-executive.com

Worrying details emerge in MV Mozart kidnapping incident

News outlet, Maritime Bulletin, has released new information about the attack on the MV Mozart, reported on Jan. 24th. According to the website:

Details of container ship MOZART piracy attack have slowly become known, revealing a frightening picture of a new trend of total disregard of seamen lives, demonstrated by pirates. Until MOZART attack, all involved parties including pirates, did stick to some unwritten but mutually recognized rules – pirates hijacked crew but don’t physically harm them; owners pay ransom and get back unharmed crew. Being obviously, frustrated by continuous failed attempts to get crews out of citadels, pirates became real nasty and reckless, using explosives to break in citadel, and treating the crew they capture in a very cruel manner.

One crew was killed during the attack and citadel break-in, others were injured. Pirates kidnapped 15 crew, of 3 crew left on board, “ one was beaten and left with an injured leg, while another still aboard the ship had shrapnel wounds” (understood inflicted by explosion). The pirates also ransacked the ship and severely damaged bridge and navigational equipment, crippling the ship’s navigational capacity, so that the ship is incapable of continuing her scheduled voyage.

The use of explosives to access the ship’s citadel represents a significant increase in violence against crews and will once again lead the international shipping community to question security levels in the Gulf of Guinea.

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Source: maritimebulletin.net

Counterpiracy Efforts Stepped up As Another Major Kidnapping Occurs in Gulf of Guinea

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has declared its intention to work in partnership with the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) in the fight against piracy and other crimes in the country’s maritime domain.

Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, underscored the importance of collaboration among relevant agencies and communities in the quest for maritime security, saying, “We should be working together in partnership to help us appreciate and evaluate the challenges from our various perspectives and collectively come up with solutions that would work for all of us, and the country at large.

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Source: hstoday.us

Attacks at sea aren’t all linked to piracy. Why it’s important to unpick what’s what

Dirk Siebels, University of Greenwich

Pirate attacks against merchant ships off the African coast have been reported regularly over the past decade. And despite measures to suppress it, Somalia-based piracy remains a concern. On the other side of the continent, the Gulf of Guinea is now viewed as presenting a much more serious piracy problem.

Last year a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents, according to the International Maritime Bureau. The cluster of attacks in November and December has once again led to alarming headlines about the Gulf of Guinea being the world’s piracy hotspot.

But an increase in officially reported attacks does not necessarily mean that the actual number of attacks has increased. And individual cases must be analysed carefully. Attacks against small cargo ships trading solely in the Gulf of Guinea, for example, are often linked to criminal disputes or other illicit activities at sea. These incidents are very different from random attacks targeting merchant ships in international trade which are solely aimed at kidnapping seafarers to collect a large ransom and are, therefore, a profit-driven crime.

Similarly, reports about suspicious approaches against merchant ships off Somalia are still frequent. Most are related to smuggling operations between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula or simply to everyday fishing activities.

Pirate attacks may grab most headlines, but maritime security is important for wider reasons. Illicit activities at sea limit the potential benefits of economic activities linked to the sea – what’s referred to as the “blue economy”. This includes maritime trade, fishing activities, offshore oil and gas production or coastal tourism. Also, criminality at sea and on land are closely linked. Government agencies need to recognise this if security is to be improved.




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Gulf of Guinea: fighting criminal groups in the Niger Delta is key to defeating piracy


Many problems, few resources

Piracy remains arguably the most visible symptom of insecurity at sea. But coastal states also have other reasons to be concerned about it.

Illegal fishing, for example, has a direct impact on coastal communities where artisanal fishing is one of the few opportunities to earn a living. Smuggling on maritime routes even affects government income directly. Virtually all African countries rely heavily on customs revenues. When fuel, cigarettes or agricultural goods are smuggled, no import or export duties are paid. Less money can then be spent on schools, roads or hospitals, as my research has shown.

Governments are also concerned about drug trafficking or weapons smuggling at sea, underlined by international agreements which have been adopted by the majority of African coastal states.

Limited monitoring of maritime trade allows for a steady flow of pharmaceutical products – including fake drugs – into Africa as well as lucrative exports of unlicensed timber or illegal wildlife products.

Despite the widespread impacts, maritime security has only come into the political focus over the past decade. African countries have initiated international meetings about it. The African Union adopted a maritime strategy in 2014 and held a follow-up summit in Togo’s capital Lomé in 2016. But progress has been limited. National governments have largely failed to take concrete actions. Strategies aren’t supported by financial and human resources.

Even Ghana, where a comprehensive maritime strategy has been under development for years, is still unable to provide reliable funding for patrol boat operations.

The way forward

Some examples highlight that it is possible to provide more security at sea. In West Africa, Nigeria is leading the way with its $195 million Deep Blue project, scheduled to be fully operational in the coming months. This project is primarily aimed at better surveillance and enforcement across the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area that stretches out up to 200 nautical miles (around 360 kilometres) from the coastline.

Benin, Gabon and Tanzania have partnered with environmental organisations like Sea Shepherd to combat illegal fishing in their waters. Such non-traditional partnerships may help overcome short-term challenges and focus on urgent problems.

But it’s necessary to build capacity for the long term.

In many African countries, the blue economy could help to increase economic growth and development, although it should not be limited to economic gains. Acknowledging the needs of local communities and environmental sustainability are equally important. Investments can yield direct benefits which are five times higher than the initial outlay, according to a recent study. And the inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on ocean resources could strengthen efforts to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.




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Lift for maritime sector in Kenya and Djibouti after fall in piracy


Despite some alarming headlines, there is no evidence to suggest that the coronavirus pandemic has had an immediate impact on security threats at sea. But growth forecasts have been slashed and governments are unlikely to prioritise spending on navies and other maritime agencies.

Security concerns on land are much more immediate threats, and even relatively limited stimulus packages are another burden for government budgets.

A closer analysis of sea piracy is important for law enforcement and longer-term prevention whether these are solely aimed at pirates or at organised criminal groups. It is also important for shipping companies because it affects the threat assessment when attacks are linked to criminal activities and aimed at specific ships rather than random targets.

Short-term solutions for long-standing problems are impossible. Even small steps, however, are important to improve maritime security in the medium to long term. That would be in line with the AU’s maritime strategy which highlights the blue economy’s potential contribution to economic growth and development across the continent.The Conversation

Dirk Siebels, PhD (Maritime Security), University of Greenwich

Cet article est republié à partir de The Conversation sous licence Creative Commons. Lire l’article original.