Around 40 ships have been attacked in the Gulf of Guinea in the past 12 months. Most recently, six seafarers were kidnapped from the MSC Mandy, which was on the way to Lagos, Nigeria.
“We look towards the EU, China and the United States to join forces and deploy naval capacity in the Gulf of Guinea to end this constant threat to seafarers,” Jakob P. Larsen, BIMCO Head of Maritime Security, said.
In the 2013 Yaoundé Code of Conduct, states in the Gulf of Guinea recognized that piracy constituted an issue and initiated several initiatives to strengthen maritime security.
Despite the efforts of regional navies to fight maritime crimes, “pirates in the Gulf of Guinea can still operate largely unchecked in the open seas, outside of the territorial waters, and on occasion even strike inside territorial waters.”
In addition to the strain put on seafarers, the current situation negatively impacts the economic potential of the sea of the countries in the region.
“It is time to step up law enforcement efforts, establish control of the sea in the Gulf of Guinea, relieve seafarers from the threat and the psychological pressure, and allow the countries in the region to harvest the full economic potential of the seas,” Larsen added.
BIMCO explained that international sea and air law enforcement assets, such as naval ships with helicopters, would be able to deliver a concrete and rapid contribution to the maritime security situation.
“While longer term capacity building efforts are commended, what is needed now is substantially more assets at sea and in the air. It is an obvious solution which can deliver the necessary effect with the desired speed, without compromising the territorial integrity of the countries in the region,” Larsen concluded.
Press Releases: BIMCO
Photo Courtesy: EUNAVFOR