Pirates from Nigeria Dominate Attacks in Gulf of Guinea, As Kidnappings Up 40%

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       …W/Africa’s coast now accounts for 95% of global maritime kidnappings – IMB

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has accused Nigeria of accounting for most of the pirates terrorizing the Gulf of Guinea. Quoting a report by IMB yesterday, Reuters said.

kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea rose by 40% in the first nine months of 2020, and that the region off West Africa’s coast now accounts for 95% of global maritime kidnappings.

According to the report, 80 seafarers were recently taken in the Gulf of Guinea, a 2.3 million sq km (888,000 sq m) area bordering more than a dozen countries, sharply up from the same period in 2019, and the pirates are attacking further out to sea than before.

It said that pirates armed with guns and knives attack everything from oil platforms to fishing vessels and refrigerated cargo ships. In one attack 95 nautical miles off the coast, the furthest offshore attack reported in the region, pirates took 13 crew hostage, which the IMB said illustrated “how well-organized and far-reaching” the pirates are.

Quoting experts, the agency said the bulk of the pirates come from Nigeria’s Niger Delta, the region that produces much of the petroleum from the country, Africa’s largest oil exporter, but the restive region has an underdeveloped economy and limited jobs for locals.

In 2019, Nigeria enacted a standalone law against piracy, and in August, a court in the oil hub of Port Harcourt made the first convictions under the legislation.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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