The four largest shipping trade organisations forming the RT – BIMCO, INTERCARGO, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and INTERTANKO – are to organise a joint meeting with the IMO Secretary General and regional member states to discuss the issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Over 90% of global kidnappings reported at sea took place in the Gulf of Guinea in 2019. While the entire shipping industry applauds the hard work of the Friends of the Gulf of Guinea (FoGG) in coordinating international partners to secure the Gulf of Guinea against the threat from piracy, it remains an uncomfortable fact that the majority of attacks are launched within Nigerian territorial waters.
With efforts and legal changes enacted by Nigeria over the past year, now is the time to see real law enforcement action at sea and results in terms of the capture and prosecution of pirates.
The international community must respond to the threat to the lives and wellbeing of seafarers by supporting Nigeria in bringing a swift resolution to this intolerable situation. Naval assistance in international waters must be provided to complement coastal states’ maritime law enforcement in a meaningful way, and naval assets in the region need to be deployed as a deterrent and to swiftly and decisively respond as necessary to piracy incidents.
Speaking after the Round Table Chairperson’s meeting in Rome, Paolo D’Amico, Chairperson of INTERTANKO said: “Our absolute priority will always be the safety and welfare of the crew. We stand ready and willing to work in close partnership with the Government of Nigeria, and the international community to protect ships and their crews as they go about their legitimate business.”
“Seafarers have the right to operate free from the fear of kidnap or capture. But improved security in the Gulf of Guinea will also boost regional prosperity, which is estimated to have cost $2.3bn between 2016 and 2018. There is an opportunity to pursue win-win cooperation” added INTERCARGO chairman Dimitrios Fafalios.
“We welcome Nigerian investments in anti-piracy capabilities under project Deep Blue. However, the spike in incidents in 2019 and the early part of this year, has shown just how far away we are from solving this endemic issue” emphasised Sadan Kaptanoglu, President of BIMCO.
The declining rate of piracy incidents elsewhere illustrates that piracy is a manageable threat. However, designing and implementing an effective antipiracy strategy requires the use of accurate information on piracy operandi and piracy’s root causes, and then on carrying out the law enforcement and other actions needed to get the job done.”
Esben Poulsson, chairman of ICS added: “The shipping industry is ready and willing to work with all parties to bring an end to this endemic blight to free trade. To this end, BIMCO, INTERCARGO, ICS and INTERTANKO will organise a joint meeting with the IMO Secretary General and regional member states to discuss this problem further.”