Maritime piracy at Gulf of Guinea calls for immediate action to protect seafarers

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Members of the shipping community, Flag States and Agencies from Gulf of Guinea gathered at the IMO Headquarters for a day-long symposium on Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea. The shipping industry, as well as seafarer groups, organized the event aiming to give emphasis to the continuing danger to seafarers that are sailing in the Gulf of Guinea. Opening the symposium, Dr. Grahaeme Henderson, Chair of the UK Shipping Defence Advisory Committee and Vice President of Shell Shipping & Maritime, stated that the high level of piracy and armed robbery attacks in the Gulf of Guinea is not acceptable. However, such phenomena are taking place on a day to day basis, and urgent action is necessary. What is more, the industry is concerned about the increase in piracy attacks, especially as the IMB has shown that the number of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea region had doubled in 2018. In addition, there is an increase regarding kidnapping for ransom and armed robbery incidents. In fact, piracy expert Professor Bertand Monnet, who has interviewed pirate gangs in the Niger Delta, made an estimation that there were about 10 groups of pirates that were responsible for most of the attacks in the area. However, the event emphasized that the region is starting to build capacity and joint collaboration to tackle maritime crime through the Yaoundé Process, which focuses on joint cooperation across the region for reporting and response. Despite these actions, immediate actions are needed. For this reason, attendees were encouraged to hear about recent Spanish Navy action to help Equatorial Guinea rescue seafarers from a piracy attack last month, as well as the new US program to embark law enforcement officers on regional vessels. Jakob Larsen, Head of Security for BIMCO pointed out that regional states must play their role as well.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1522826988749{padding-top: 10px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In addition, the forum included an interview guided by Mr. Branko Berlan, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Representative to the IMO, with a seafarer who had been attacked and kidnapped in a recent incident. The seafarer, who did not want to be identified, stated the attack appeared to be well organized and led from ashore. He explained that the first indication he had of the attack was a knock on his cabin door and two men holding guns appeared. After that he was held in a camp on shore along with other members of his crew until his release could be secured. Moreover, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the Director General and CEO of the Nigerian Maritime Authority and Safety Agency (NIMASA), highlighted in his keynote address that the maritime security risks are present in the Gulf of Guinea, but stated that new initiatives are starting which could improve the joint capacity of Nigerian law enforcement and Navy capabilities to eradicate kidnapping. He also stated that he aspires to enhance international cooperation, especially with the shipping industry. Concerns over increased piracy in the Gulf of Guinea are growing, leading to several member states to submit proposals that could help address the crisis. Commenting on the recurring threat of piracy, Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, stated that: It is unacceptable that seafarers are being exposed to such appalling dangers and we need the authorities to take action now Culled from www.safety4sea.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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