Oil Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
Despite regional efforts, hijackings and oil theft persist.
Black Gold Buccaneers: Oil Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
Marissa Hall | Shale Plays Media
The frequency of piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea has increased at an alarming rate in recent years. According the United Nations’ 2013 Transnational Organized Crime threat assessment for West Africa, piracy in the Gulf “is a product of the disorder that surrounds the regional oil industry.” Nigeria, which produces well over 2 million barrels of oil per day, occupies 530 miles of coastline and drives the industry.
Nigeria saw US$52 billion in revenue in 2011. However, Nigeria remains incredibly poor. In 2012, Nigeria ranked 12th in world oil production, but the UN ranked the nation 152nd of 187 countries on its Human Development Index. Robbery, kidnapping for ransom, and hijacking vessels are all part of an organized crime network born out of political unrest and economic disparity.
While pirates do not solely hijack oil vessels, tankers are often the primary targets. As recently as July 25, oil tanker Hai Soon 6 disappeared off the coast of Ghana. The ship was released shortly afterward, but had been relieved of her cargo.
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