EU, China and US need to support counter piracy in Gulf of Guinea

10 January 2019 (Last Updated January 10th, 2019 16:48)

EU, China and the US need to support counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Guinea, says shipowners association BIMCO.

EU, China and the US need to support counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Guinea, says shipowners association BIMCO.

The last 12 months have seen around 40 attacked ships in the gulf. Furthermore, six seafarers were most recently kidnapped from the MSC Mandy vessel, which was travelling to Lagos, Nigeria.

BIMCO has urged maritime powers to increase their presence in the region and expand their collaboration with local states to help cut down piracy.

BIMCO maritime security head Jakob Larsen said: “We look towards the EU, China and the United States to join forces and deploy naval capacity in the Gulf of Guinea to end this constant threat to seafarers.”

In the 2013 Yaoundé Code of Conduct, which has been inspired by the United Nations’ Security Council Resolution 2018 (2011) and 2039 (2012), states located in the Gulf of Guinea considered piracy as a major issue and undertook several initiatives to bolster maritime security.

Larsen added: “BIMCO remains very thankful to the regional navies who are working tirelessly and with great sacrifice to secure their seas.

“While these efforts command our deepest respect, pirates in the Gulf of Guinea can still operate largely unchecked in the open seas, outside of the territorial waters, and on occasion even strike inside territorial waters.”

“If such assets were supported by on-board regional law enforcement officials, operations will be more successful without infringing on the sovereignty of regional states.”

Although several capacity building initiatives have been undertaken in the region since the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, the security situation in the Gulf of Guinea is still far from ideal.

One of the reasons is due to other security challenges in the region such as land-based terrorist threats, which demand greater allotment of law enforcement resources.

International sea and air law enforcement assets, including naval ships with helicopters, will be able to enhance maritime security situation.

If such assets were supported by on-board regional law enforcement officials, operations will be more successful without infringing on the sovereignty of regional states.

Larsen added: “While longer-term capacity building efforts are commended, what is needed now is substantially more assets at sea and in the air. It is an obvious solution, which can deliver the necessary effect with the desired speed, without compromising the territorial integrity of the countries in the region.”