The Government of Nigeria and a coalition of global shipping stakeholders have launched a new strategy to end piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). The strategy establishes a mechanism to periodically assess the effectiveness of country-piracy initiatives and commitments in the GoG.

Targeted at all stakeholders operating in the region, the strategy will identify areas of improvement and reinforcement in order to eliminate piracy.

The plan is split into two mutually supportive sections:

  1. actions which can be overseen by the Nigerian Industry Working Group (NIWG), and
  2. actions which require engagement with other regional and international partners.

The strategic ambition of the coalition is to eliminate piracy in the GoG, to secure trade routes, reassure traversing crews, and support local communities.

Also read: IMB reports lull in crew kidnappings in Gulf of Guinea

Piracy hotspot

In May, the UN Security Council condemned the GoG as the world’s piracy hotspot. Despite the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center tracking an overall drop in global piracy during 2021, threat levels in the region remain high.

Piracy activity in the GoG has posed a severe threat to seafarers and local communities for over a decade. In 2020, forty per cent of piracy attacks, and 95 per cent of crew kidnappings occurred in the region. However, attacks decreased by nearly sixty per cent in 2021, following the establishment of Deep Blue, the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA) anti-piracy project, and increased international counter-piracy operations in the GoG.

Also read: European shipowners call for further action against pirates in the Gulf of Guinea

The newly launched strategy was developed by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO, Intertanko, Intercargo, Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), and representatives of the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA, together making up the NIWG.

Also read: EU to extend anti-piracy missions in Gulf of Guinea and North-Western Indian Ocean