UK maritime security firm joins task force to sign Gulf of Guinea Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy

Photo: PVI

UK-based maritime security consultancy Protection Vessels International (PVI) has joined a task force consisting of more than one hundred organisations from across the maritime industry in signing the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy.

PVI has joined other organisations including flag state administrations, shipowners, charterers, and shipping associations to help increase world attention on the threats to shipping in the Gulf of Guinea.

The document was drafted by a group of shipowners convened by shipping association BIMCO. These shipowners’ aim was to speak openly about the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea and get additional stakeholders involved to develop effective solutions.

PVI said that BIMCO has maintained that the piracy can be suppressed with as little as two frigates with helicopters and one maritime patrol aircraft to actively patrol the area.

As part of this effort, BIMCO is calling for non-regional countries to provide the necessary assets on a rotation basis, and that one or more states in the area support the effort with logistics and prosecution of arrested pirates.

In announcing the initiative, BIMCO highlighted that 95 per cent of the crew that was kidnapped in 2020, a total of 135 people, were taken from ships in the Gulf of Guinea.

The association has also noted that the assaults are coming from the Niger Delta and that they are happening in an area less than 20 per cent the size of the area where Somali pirates had been active.

BIMCO added that the scope and sophistication of the attacks on shipping have continued to grow, increasing in violence, and spreading to an area more than 200 nautical miles from the coast.

BIMCO said the attacks are preventable, but the current model of depending on locally sourced commercial protection services will not resolve the problem.

The document expressed the belief that piracy and attempts at kidnapping are preventable through active anti-piracy operations and that by the end of 2023, the number of attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea can be reduced by at least 80 per cent.

PVI will deploy its fleet of security and escort vessels as part of the anti-piracy effort.

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