Tag Archives: piracy

Gulf of Guinea pirate attacks

Brussels 26.04.2021 Two successive attacks on commercial vessels have just taken place in the Gulf of Guinea.
On Friday (April 23), a container ship was attacked 130 nautical miles northwest of the island of Sao Tome (1 ° 27 North and 4 ° 38 East). The pirates were able to board the Contship New, which was en route from Port Owendo in Gabon to Lomé, Togo.

A few hours later, Saturday (April 24), at 2:23 UTC, another attack took place in the same area (1 ° 52 North and 3 ° 17 East). The ship was secured “taken care of and escorted”, we are assured at Gulf of Guinea HQ in Brest (MDAT-GOG).

The Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half (43%) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021, according to the latest figures from the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

IMB’s latest global piracy report records 38 incidents since the start of 2021 – compared with 47 incidents during the same period last year. In the first three months of 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 33 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon, and one vessel hijacked.

Despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for Q1 2021, violence against crew is on the rise in comparison to previous years. Since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew in Q1 2020. A crew member was also killed in Q1 2021. .

Nigeria: three pirates convicted

Nigerian court has announced the first convictions under a new anti-piracy law, ensuring the world’s shipping fleets that legal reforms will normalise the situation in the Gulf of Guinea.

The three men fined by the court in Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil hub, on August 11 were among nine accused of hijacking the tanker MV Elobey VI off Equatorial Guinea in March and securing a $200,000 ransom for the crew.

The merchant shipping industry has long demanded Nigeria to undertake strict measures in the area, which has been dubbed “pirate alley.”

It accounts for over 90% of maritime kidnappings globally, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), with attacks on all kind of vessels from oil platforms to fishing boats.

The court fined the three men convicted 10 million naira ($26,300) each for each of the two counts of piracy to which they pleaded guilty.

The remaining six pleaded not guilty and their trial continues.

Nigerian navy spokesman Commodore Suleiman Dahun (pictured) said the convictions were the first conviction under the new law, which passed last year to open legal way to prosecute pirates.

Commodore added that the fines were levied in lieu of prison sentences.

While the Gulf of Guinea is streched along more than a dozen West African countries, experts underline the pirates typically come from Nigeria’s oil-rich but poverty-stricken Delta region.

So far the assaillants rarely faced judicial consequences as piracy was not defined illegal under Nigerian law.

A total of 49 crew were kidnapped in the Gulf in the first half of this year, compared with 27 last year, according to IMB figures. It has aslo underlined that attackers were also more daring and going further out to sea than previous years.

EU top diplomat to visit Horn of Africa

Federica Mogherini will begin her visit to the Horn of Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the African Union Summit is taking place and she will meet several heads of state or government in the margins.

In Ethiopia Mogherini is due to meet President Shale Work Zwede and Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, among other members of the government, to discuss further strengthening the EU-Ethiopia partnership.

The the EU top diplomat will also visit  funded by the bloc projects supporting the International Organisation for Migration together with Director General Antonio Vitorino.

Continuing her visit in the Horn of Africa,  Mogherini will visit Kenya, where she is due to meet President Kenyatta and members of the government. In Kenya, she will also launch a cross border programme, meet with representatives from the UN Habitat and UNEP, youth and civil society groups as well as inaugurating the new EU Delegation offices in Nairobi.

She will conclude her visit by travelling to Djibouti to meet President Ismail Omar Guelleh and other members of government, as well as visiting Member States’ military bases operating the EU ATALANTA maritime security mission.

The EU in the Horn of Africathe EU is working actively to strengthen its partnership with the region which shares many common interests with the European Union, from tackling climate change to boosting investment, to better managing migration and creating opportunities for youth.

The EU is a key partner for the region in many areas, in particular security with the three Common Security and Defence Policy missions: EUNAVFOR Atalanta maritime mission which fights piracy off the Somali coast, EUTM Somalia and EUCAP Somalia. The EU is also a key supporter of Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the regional body in the Horn of Africa.

Image: Benna people, Ethiopia