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What is causing the increase in piracy along the Nigerian coast?

While sea piracy is decreasing worldwide, the International Maritime Bureau says it is increasing at an alarming rate in Gulf of Guinea West Africa. There have been at least 32 attacks so far this year, with most of these attacks taking place in Nigerian territorial waters. Compared with 54 attacks in the same waters all through last year!

These piracy attacks affect the Nigerian economy in more devastating ways than we know. Aside from being a major source of oil, the Gulf of Guinea represents a significant transit hub for cocoa and metals destined for world markets. London think-tank Chatham House reported that up to 400,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen every day in the Gulf of Guinea. Some other statistics say Nigeria is losing about $1.5 billion a month as a result of piracy, sea armed robbery, smuggling and so on.

Incidents that occur in our territorial waters affect the global economy as there are more interconnected shipping supply networks. For example, on the 11 April 2016, two ships were attacked in the Gulf of Guinea, one of which was MT Puli which confirmed that six Turkish seamen had been kidnapped by pirates.

Britain’s deputy UN Ambassador Peter Wilson pointed out that between those two pirate attacks, seven different countries were affected. Malta and Liberia whose flags were on the ships, Turkey, Greece and Nigeria where the cargo originated from, Egypt, Philippines and Turkey where the missing crew men came from.

Pirates adjust their tacticsIn addition to increasing the frequency of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, the West African pirates have also altered their mode of operation. In the past, the pirates always preferred hijacking vessels with oil cargo which they would steal along with equipment and other items. For instance, in March 2004, armed pirates in six boats surrounded a tanker in Warri and ordered the vessel to anchor. The pirates then pumped the gasoline cargo on board the vessel into a barge that brought along. These lootings took a considerable amount of time and could even last up to several days. The pirates took their time because they felt no immediate threat to hasten as there wasn’t heavy security presence in the area anyway.

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as in everywhere else in the world is going to require strong collaboration among the various Navies of the coastal region. Single state solutions achieve short term results and cannot compete with the flexible strategies of the pirates. Effective security patrols on one side of the coast simply resulted in the pirates carrying out attacks in another section of the water. For example, when Nigeria and Benin Republic carried out effective joint patrols, attacks shifted to the Togo coast.

Lees verder via Guardian Nigeria

Bron: What is causing the increase in piracy along the Nigerian coast? » The Guardian Nigeria

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