Double Trouble

Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea seized two Panamanian-registered ships early on Sunday, staging the second attack there in a week, but released them after being intercepted by a naval boat from Benin.

The naval boat’s captain told Reuters that a dozen heavily armed pirates had boarded the two ships, which were carrying diesel just off the coast of the west African state of Benin.

Pirate attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea are threatening one of the world’s emerging trade hubs and are likely to intensify unless the region’s weak naval and coast guard defences are beefed up soon.

“Piracy in West Africa is fundamentally different to Somali piracy as the perpetrators are interested in stealing cargo rather than demanding ransoms,” said Paul Gibbins of Protection Vessels International (PVI).

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