This comes as the latest piracy report by the IMB showed increased attacks in West Africa, with 22 incidents reported in the first quarter of 2019 in Gulf of Guinea alone.

The region also accounted for all of the worldwide crew kidnappings as 21 crew members were kidnapped during five separate incidents.

Incidents were also reported in the coastal countries of Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo in the first quarter of 2019.

To be honest, 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. Significant capacity building is going on in the region and naval forces are being trained, but these initiatives are all aimed at the longer term and do not solve the problem right now. Therefore, we need to step up the effort. Only then can we really turn the tide on piracy in the region,

...Mr. Larsen says.

He has noticed a tendency to believe that because of other marine activity in the area such as supply vessels, fishing vessels and other small boats, an anti-piracy operation would be very difficult, complicated and involve a big risk of firing at the wrong people.

I don’t agree. I don’t think it is very difficult, nor too risky, and I believe that the challenges are sometimes exaggerated. 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,

...he notes.

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. This is in the interest of everybody,

...he concludes.