Around 100 maritime companies have signed the Gulf of Guinea Declaration to Combat Piracy, released yesterday as shipping attempts to cool the world’s worst robbery and ransom hotspot at sea.
In 2020, 135 crew members were abducted from their ships worldwide, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for over 95% of the crews abducted. This happened a decade ago in international waters in an area less than 20% the size of the Somali pirate-dominated sea area. The pirates start their attacks from the Niger Delta, where they then hold their hostages.
95% of all crew abductions in the past year took place in the Gulf of Guinea
“We hope that all parties interested in a safe Gulf of Guinea will sign this declaration,” said Sadan Kaptanoglu, BIMCO President and shipowner, who personally hijacked a ship and a crew in the Gulf of Guinea.
BIMCO said in a press release that it welcomes the positive steps taken by regional states, particularly Nigeria. In reality, however, it will be a few years before these states can effectively address the problem. Meanwhile, BIMCO believes that the best solution is to have capable military assets from able and willing non-regional states to actively combat piracy in the region and support the efforts of countries in the region.
The signatories of the new declaration firmly believe that active anti-piracy operations can prevent piracy and hijacking attempts and that the number of pirate attacks can be reduced by at least 80% by the end of 2023.
BIMCO claims that piracy can be suppressed with just two frigates with helicopters and a patrol plane actively fighting piracy in the area.
A group of shipowners convened by BIMCO drafted the declaration. The aim is to speak clearly about the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea and to get everyone involved to address the real problems with effective solutions.