Gulf of Guinea: Pirate paradise

As Indian Ocean piracy diminishes, West Africa becomes focus.

Gulf of Guinea: Africa’s new pirate paradise

By: Valérie Leroux

(AFP) – A year after vowing to banish buccaneers from their waters, countries in the Gulf of Guinea — the new epicentre of piracy in Africa — are struggling to get their act together.

The coastal area extending from Senegal to Angola has stolen the limelight from the Gulf of Aden on the piracy front.

From hijacking cargo ships and siphoning their fuel to illegal fishing and transporting contraband, seafaring robbers are squeezing the region’s economy.

Between January and September the Gulf of Guinea recorded 33 incidents of piracy and armed robbery, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

While an improvement on the 47 attacks recorded in the same period last year, the figure still dwarfed the number of incidents recorded off the coast of Somalia, where international military patrols helped keep the reported tally down to 10.

The pirates operating off the coast of Nigeria, Togo and Benin are heavily armed and violent, according to the IMB.

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