Fighting Gulf of Guinea piracy

Strategies to combat piracy already exist, but countries must navigate the pitfalls that hinder implementation.

Fighting rising piracy in the Gulf of Guinea


‘The Gulf of Guinea, which has been Africa’s main maritime piracy hotspot since 2011, could become the world’s most piracy-affected area.’ This was a key observation made by American and African experts at a workshop organised by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Abidjan from 14 to 17 February. This finding and others depicted a rather disheartening picture of maritime security in Africa.

Indeed, the Gulf saw a significant rise in violence at sea in 2016. In contrast, global figures of piracy and armed robbery had declined significantly to 191 cases, the lowest level since 1998 (which saw 203 incidents). In that year, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recorded 55 attacks or attempted attacks in West and Central Africa – including 36 for Nigeria. The Gulf of Guinea accounts for more than half of the kidnappings for ransom in 2016, with 34 seafarers kidnapped out of a total of 62 worldwide.

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