The world’s hotspot for piracy is seeing calmer waters
Six months since the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a crackdown on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the body is expected to check on its progress, and see good results, at a meeting on Nov. 22.Read more……
International efforts to curtail piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
To support the anti-piracy efforts, European Union member countries, the US, and China have supplied military hardware, training, finance, naval support, and patrol. France has maintained a permanent presence at sea through its “Operation Corymbe” since 1990. The US runs the annual “Obangame Express” exercise each year to bolster preparedness.
Italian, Danish, and Russian warships have also been actively defending the region. Their interventions have highlighted gaping holes in managing piracy, including an absence of handover agreements between coastal states and non-regional deployers and how ill-equipped the region is in arresting usually heavily-armed and aggressive pirates in skiffs.
The piracy threat persists
Although piracy is declining, it’s not been weeded out entirely.
Seafarer kidnappings in the region fell to 57 in 2021—though the Gulf of Guinea accounted for all of them. The IMB attributed the improvement to the increased presence of international naval vessels and cooperation with regional authorities.
“There is concern that the recent decline in piracy incidents could be reversed without sustained engagement,” the UN Security Council recently noted, pointing to persisting socioeconomic challenges plaguing Gulf of Guinea countries that have fueled piracy.
Quotable: Domestic and international efforts to fight piracy
“We commend the efforts of the coastal authorities of the Gulf of Guinea. While the decline is welcome, sustained and continued efforts of the coastal authorities and the presence of the international navies remain essential to safeguard seafarers and long-term regional and international shipping and trade. There is no room for complacency.” -IMB director Michael Howlett
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