Nigerian government, shipping industry stakeholders launch anti-piracy strategy for Gulf of Guinea

Suspected pirates apprehended in the Gulf of Guinea by elements of European Union Naval Force Somalia (Photo: EU NAVFOR)

The government of Nigeria and a coalition of global shipping stakeholders have launched a new strategy to end incidences of piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG).

The strategy establishes a mechanism to periodically assess the effectiveness of counter-piracy initiatives and commitments in the GOG. Targeted at all stakeholders operating in the region, it will identify areas of improvement and reinforcement in order to eliminate piracy.

The partners said the plan is split into two mutually supportive sections:

  • Actions that can be overseen by the Nigerian Industry Working Group (NIWG)
  • Actions that require engagement with other regional and international partners.

The strategic ambition of the coalition is to eliminate piracy in the GOG, to secure trade routes, reassure traversing crews, and support local communities.

In May of this year, the UN Security Council condemned the GOG as “the world’s piracy hotspot.” Despite the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre tracking an overall drop in global piracy during 2021, threat levels in the region remain high.

Piracy activity in the GOG has posed a severe threat to seafarers and local communities for over a decade.

In 2020, 40 per cent of piracy attacks and 95 per cent of crew kidnappings occurred in the region. However, attacks decreased by nearly 60 per cent in 2021, following the establishment of Deep Blue, the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) anti-piracy project, and increased international counter-piracy operations in the GOG.

The newly launched strategy was developed by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO, Intertanko, Intercargo, Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), and representatives of the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA, together making up the NIWG.

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