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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Gulf of Guinea Piracy: Nigeria to do something

In what appears to be a Nigerian government push to gain some control over its
national water, it is threatening to "impound" ships that fail to register their arrival therein. Or something, as reported here:
The presidential adviser told journalists that the federal government was making arrangements to ensure that vessels no longer loiter on the local water. Rather they were taking measures to observe immediate anchorage.

"If a ship is coming to Nigeria, there is no point loitering on the waters, but should come to the anchorage which is being secured by the Nigerian Navy.

"The fight against piracy is beyond shooting guns," he said.

According to Oyewole, Nigeria has been having a sustained piracy records on tanker ships and none on cargo ships, pointing out that most of the affected tankers were not even captured in the list of ships that reported their arrival into the Nigerian waters in order to perpetrate oil theft and other criminal activities.
Well, okay then.

UPDATE: The South African Navy is venturing forth to do some "naval diplomacy" along the west coast of Africa, as reported here. Nigeria is on the visit list. SAN is also doing anti-piracy work off the east coast of Africa in patrolling the Mozambique Channel.

UPDATE2: Ghana's Navy gets training:
The Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command, Commodore Godson Zowonoo says the rise in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea in recent times requires tactical approach to deal with.
Commodore Zowonoo said this at the closing of a two week multinational training programme for military personnel organize by the Dutch Marine Corp.

Commodore Zowonoo said the Ghana Armed Forces have the capability to deal with the threats, but was quick to add that more logistics are needed to counter the sophisticated trends in piracy.
UPDATE3: Article headline says it all, "The Steep Curve Ahead in Fighting Gulf of Guinea Piracy":
Unlike the Gulf of Aden, where US and European navy ships patrol to defend commercial shipping against Somali piracy, the Gulf of Guinea has little in the way of naval assets. Stretching from Senegal on Africa’s northwestern tip down to Congo in the south, the Gulf of Guinea spans more than a dozen countries and is a growing source of oil, cocoa and metals to the world’s markets.

While piracy has exceeded levels off Somalia’s coast, analysts say pirates have spotted a window of opportunity based on weak local maritime security structures and a rough coastline, the latter offering natural hideouts from which to mount attacks.

The Gulf of Guinea is already home to insurgency in the Niger Delta, where oil facilities are routinely attacked. Recent statistics have proven that attacks by gunmen operating in the mangrove-lined creeks of Nigeria’s Niger Delta have slashed Nigeria’s oil output by at least 20 percent and, according to specialists, driven the annual cost of oil services-related security there to US$3.5 billion.

Sixty percent of vessels that are attacked in the Gulf of Guinea do not report them to the authorities. Moreover, the fact that a distress call will not elicit a rescue by a Western warship is seen to dissuade many ship owners from reporting an attack, fearing the unwanted side-effect of seeing their insurance premiums rise or of being arrested themselves, as in the case with the MI flagged vessel and Togo.

Piracy in this particular part of the world has a far-reaching effect, deep into countries’ national territory, throughout West Africa, as well as on states and ports on the Gulf.

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