Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Well-armed pirates are widening their area of operations and using
new strategies in a "worrying surge" of attacks, kidnappings and armed
robberies in West Africa's oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, an international
piracy monitoring agency said Monday.
International Maritime Bureau published figures for the first six months
of the year indicating that while piracy is down in the rest of the
world, the Gulf of Guinea has overtaken Somalia as the world's new hot
Piracy cost the region $2 billion last year, with some
shipping companies avoiding ports in the danger zone, said Cameroonian
professor Joseph Vincent Ntuda Ebode.
Some experts are calling for
a coalition of naval forces to patrol the strategic area, similar to
the one that gets credit for the decreasing number of attacks off the
coast of Somalia.
The bureau's report on Monday said the Gulf of
Guinea this year suffered 31 actual and attempted attacks by pirates,
including four ships hijacked. Nigeria had 22 reported attacks, up from
six in all of 2011, it said. Somalia, in comparison, had four attacks,
compared with 125 in 2011.
Only Indonesia reported more attacks than Nigeria, with 48 so far this year.
all attacks are reported because of concerns about the safety of
hostages and statistics that increase insurance premiums. But attacks on
oil and gas tankers generally are reported because the companies need
to make insurance claims.