Posted on January 24, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The world’s largest shipping association, BIMCO, has called for international action in order to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
BIMCO’s statement follows a report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) released in January, showcasing the increased number of pirate attacks on a global level.
The IMB report shows how piracy incidents throughout the world went up from 180 in 2017, to 210 in 2018.
More worrying even, are the numbers associated with the Gulf of Guinea, the sea region between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast, which has seen a significant increase in pirate activity throughout 2018.
Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea were responsible for all six hijackings that occurred worldwide, 13 out of 18 ships fired upon, 130 out of 141 hostages taken, and 78 out of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom.
“Unless we see international naval support and close cooperation between international navies and local law enforcement, I doubt that we will see the numbers go down in any significant way. Therefore, we need to step up the effort. Only then can we really turn the tide on piracy in the region.
“From a strictly military and law enforcement point of view, this is not a complicated operation, and it has been done before in other parts of the World with success. It may, however, be complicated from a political point of view. It all comes down to will. If local politicians and the international community are willing to support this, then it can be done relatively easily.
“In the light of the new report, showing that piracy rose in 2018, we are once again calling for international navies to deploy to the region of West Africa primarily, and to cooperate closely with law enforcement from the region,”, said Jakob P. Larsen, BIMCO’s head of Maritime Security, in a statement earlier this week.
Larsen has asked the EU, China and United States, to take the lead on the fight against piracy, showcasing the need to protect seafarers from kidnapping and to defend the shipping lanes.