A total of 35 seafarers were kidnapped for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea in the first half of 2018, according to a new paper issued by EOS Risk Group. 95% of attacks on merchant vessels in the region during this period occurred Between Brass and Port Harcourt, within 60nm of the shore, the report reads.
Gulf of Guinea
The ICC International Maritime Bureau published its second quarterly report. The report says that 107 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first six months of 2018. In addition, all 2018 crew kidnappings have taken place in the Gulf of Guinea in six separate incidents.
Last week, Gabon’s law enforcement agents, in cooperation with Sea Shepherd crew, arrested two foreign trawlers, the ‘Jinli 961’ and ‘Jinli 962’, for fishing without a license in Gabonese waters. The two vessels were escorted to the port of Libreville, where they now face charges of illegal fishing.
In order to limit maritime crime on the Gulf of Guinea waters, and especially piracy and sea robbery, the Nigerian Navy along with France, China, Portugal, Cameroon, Ghana and Togo conducted a maritime exercise named Exercise EKU KEGBE, of which 12 Nigerian Navy ships and ships from the other countries were deployed.
Piracy and armed robbery activity remains a significant threat to ship and crew safety in West African waters. The latest incidents, reported to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) 24-hour worldwide Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the last three months, are cited below.
The Gulf of Guinea offers many riches, but it also faces a multitude of interconnected maritime security challenges. As maritime piracy knows no borders, the nations around the Gulf of Guinea have organized themselves into a coordinated security effort, in order to combat crime.
ForestWave informed that it managed to establish contact with the crew of the cargo vessel ‘FWN Rapide’, that were taken hostage off Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on April 21. The company confirmed that all remaining eleven seafarers are alive and together. Of the 12 crew that were taken hostage, one was found hiding onboard the ship.
Twelve crew members were kidnapped after the general cargo vessel ‘FWN Rapide’ became subject of a piracy attack in Nigerian waters, in the morning hours of 22 April, according to the vessel’s Dutch manager ForestWave. Pirates attacked the ship prior to entering the port of Port Harcourt.
After a recent piracy attack on the Ghanaian fishing vessel, “Marine 711”, and the kidnapping of five sailors who were onboard the vessel, the Deputy Minister for Transport, Daniel Titus-Glover, has called port officials to make security at Ghana’s ports more strict, in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has set maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea as one of the most important factors, in order for Nigeria to succeed in its blue economy. Capt. Sunny Umoren, the NIMASA chief, noted that an improved maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is vital.
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