In the wake of the recent security issues in the Gulf of Guinea, the Swedish Club presented a case study of a piracy attack onboard a laden product tanker while awaiting 20 miles outside a West African port in late night. In this case, pirates used a ladder to board the vessel from a small boat not detected on the radar.
Gulf of Guinea
Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe has stated that West African states’ failure to coordinate their response to piracy off their coastline is the reason why attacks are still apparent. Bloomberg reports that while the 15 states and western partners signed a pact in 2013 to collaborate in the fight against piracy, the region still accounts for 40% of the world’s reported incidents.
In the wake of two subsequent piracy attacks involving crew abductions in the Gulf of Guinea, ECSA and ICS expressed concerns about the rise of armed attacks on merchant ships in the region and underlined these attacks threaten the smooth conduct of international maritime trade.
During the early morning hours of Saturday, November 2, pirates boarded the bulk vessel MV Bonita, taking hostage nine crew-members, off Cotonou in Benin.At the time, the J.J. Ugland vessel was at anchor, waiting for berth to discharge inbound cargo of gypsum, mostly used as fertiliser. According to a statement of the company, the remaining members of crew contacted the local authorities and later in the same day, the Norway-flagged vessel docked at the port city of Cotonou.
Two patrol vessels join the fleet operated by Homeland Integrated Offshore Services in Nigeria, specifically in the Gulf of Guinea in order to protect and boost the offshore assets of Homeland’s clients, among which are major oil companies.
During the last SAFETY4SEA Athens Forum, Mr. Rod Lingard, the Club Manager of Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association (Bermuda) Limited, looked at key war risks trends, including sanctions and the recent advice from OFAC on sanctions compliance programmes; developments in the Arabian Gulf; the status of piracy in both the Gulf of Guinea and the Western Indian Ocean.
Following the latest piracy figures from International Maritime Bureau (IMB), European shipowners expressed concerns about the escalating rate of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea and issued a position paper urging the EU authorities to step up their measures to improve security in the area.
ICC’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports 119 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships for 2019, in comparison to the 156 incidents that were reported in the same period in 2018, with the Gulf of Guinea remaining a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery.
Four robbers armed with a gun and knives boarded an anchored tanker, while it was anchored about 5 nm southwest of Conakry, in the Gulf of Guinea, according to IMB Piracy. Upon boarding the ship, they took hostage the duty AB, tide his hands and forced him to lead them to the bridge.
Nigeria plans to establish an International Maritime Arbitration Centre in Lagos, in order to enable the timely resolution of disputes within the Gulf of Guinea region. This will in turn significantly decrease the current trend where maritime players in the area head to London, Dubai or Singapore for arbitration on maritime issues.
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