Namely, Maersk highlights that security for vessels and crews in the Gulf of Guinea is soo poor that it may be life-threatening to sail in these waters.

It is unacceptable in this day and age that seafarers cannot perform their jobs of ensuring a vital supply chain for this region without having to worry about the risk of piracy. The risk has reached a level where effective military capacity needs to be deployed

said Aslak Ross, head of marine standards at Copenhagen-based Maersk.

In fact, Maersk is suggesting a strategy in the Gulf of Guinea to address the increasing number of assaults, armed robberies and kidnappings. The strategy offers both a short-term solution and a long-term plan.

Two incidents made Maersk make this call:

  • Saturday 12th December, container vessel Maersk Cadiz also experienced an attempted pirate boarding which was also averted.
  • Wednesday 13th January pirates attempted to board container vessel Maersk Cardiff which was on route from Tema, Ghana to Cameroon. By the time a patrol vessel had reached the Maersk Cardiff, the pirates had aborted their hijack attempt.

The number of attacks on vessels globally rose 20% in 2020 to 195, with 135 crew kidnapped, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre’s latest stats. The Gulf of Guinea accounted for 95% of hostages taken in 22 separate instances, and 100% of the hijackings that occurred.

The seas in this region are vast and poorly well guarded, a combination that creates ideal conditions for piracy. Nigeria's navy is the most powerful in the Gulf of Guinea, but it remains underfunded and neglected

adds Munro Anderson, a partner at Dryad Global.

Except from Maersk, there are also other shipowners that want a solution from international agencies similar to the response levied following the prolific hijackings offshore Somalia.