The Gulf of Guinea has remained the hot spot of Maritime insecurity in the world till date. Advances in information gathering and cross border cooperation by West African member states continue in efforts to address the issue. Sadly a majority of attacks are attributed to Nigerian Pirates operating just south of the shores of Nigeria and beyond into the waters of neighboring countries.
The pirates used to operate from shore in fast attack vessels with a range of about 100km, However, increasingly, towards the latter end of 2019 and early 2020, we’re seeing more incidents at that 120–185 km range. We’ve seen pirates operating with a very high degree of confidence and range in small boats, satisfied to carry enough fuel on their vessels to increase the range of their operations.
Five pirates attempted to board container ship Rio Charleston on 10 June, 98 km off the coast of Bayelsa, Nigeria. The attack is the ninth piracy incident to take place deep offshore in the Gulf of Guinea in 2020.The vessel managed to avert the attack by increasing its speed, activating pumps, and performing evasive action. Crew are reportedly safe and the vessel, and the vessel travelled up the Bonne River towards Nigeria’s Onne port, according to AIS data.
On 25 June, suspected Nigerian pirates have kidnapped five Korean and a Ghanaian national from a fishing vessel, Panofi Frontier at 61 nautical miles off Cotonou waters on Wednesday. According to an advisory notice made available to clients by Dryad Global on Wednesday, the speed boat that attacked the 64.7 by 12 metres long fishing vessel was last seen heading towards Nigerian waters after a successful raid on the vessel.
- All Vessels destined for ports off the waters of the bight of bonny and Benin must maintain high situational awareness and be ever ready to implement standard operating procedures in time of attack of raising alarm through their SSAS and securing all crew members in a secure panic room.
- Government of the countries within this zone especially Nigeria show greater commitment to battling piracy by deploying more naval logistics
- Public Private Partnership PPP model and foreign investment be sought to increase patrol and surveillance capabilities in the coastal waters.