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African Pirates Armed Robbery at Sea

African Pirates Armed Robbery at Sea

African pirates violence and cost of piracy on African coasts and in African sea waters is inestimable.

The three reasons Pirate activity off the coasts of Nigeria, Togo, and Equatorial Guinea is disturbing is kidnappings, violence and larger range.

Attacks, kidnappings for ransom, and pirate boarding to steal valuables from ships and crews are the most common types of incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea with the majority of incidents taking place off Nigerian seashores. African Pirates have an advantage, the fact that crime and violence in international waters from pirates often go unpunished is a day-to-day fact of commerical seafarers.

The fact that crime and violence in international waters from pirates often goes unpunished is a day-to-day fact of Seafarers.
Money and African Pirates

In 2015, a cellphone video was discovered showing at least four unarmed men being gunned down in international waters. Even though there were witnesses and selfies of the murdering crew-members, the murders went unreported and remain unpunished to this very day.

Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) is a project of the One Earth Future Foundation, a privately funded and independent non-profit organization located in Colorado, The USA OBP believes that the answers to the piracy problem should come from within East and West African Countries. OBP says there was under-reporting or non-reporting of piracy and armed robbery attacks at sea.

There are numerous reasons international piracy continues; lack of uniformity for international agreements on the criminalization of piracy, criminal jurisdiction, criminal procedures, laws of gathering evidence, prisoner transfer laws, transfer agreements, support to police and investigations, support for the trial processes and prison arrangements.

The three main reasons why Pirate activity off the coasts of Nigeria, Togo, and Equatorial Guinea is disturbing is due to increased kidnappings, violence and significant larger range.

Pirate Kidnapping

Kidnap for Ransom against merchant's vessels has significantly increased in African ocean waters. There have been 14 attacks on commercial vessels off Nigeria's Rivers and Bayelsa African states. However, crews taking evasive maneuvers avoided eight of the raids. However, in the six, which succeeded, 23 crew-members were kidnapped for ransom.

Pirate kidnappings for ransom groups target vessels such as tankers, tugs, offshore supply vessels and cargo vessels with foreign crew, due to their potentially high ransom value. Kidnappings for ransom groups generally kidnap two to six high-value crewmembers to include the master, chief engineer, and any Western crewmembers, but there were several incidents where more than ten crewmembers were kidnapped during a boarding.

Kidnapped crewmembers are normally taken ashore in the Niger Delta region where KFR groups demand ransom payments in exchange for the safe return of the crewmembers. In 2019, pirates hijacked vessels off Nigeria, Togo, and Equatorial Guinea.

Pirate Violence

African pirates are becoming more violent and aggressive and often initiate attacks by firing at the bridge to intimidate the crew prior to boarding. The International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea as very high risk for piracy and armed robbery of ships. In 2018, 48 commercial vessels were boarded or attacked, 29 ships were boarded eight of which were underway, 12 were fired upon, and 78 crewmembers were abducted.

In 2019, 129 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea occurred in the Gulf of Guinea region. This is an 11% decrease from 2018, but kidnappings were at the highest level recorded in the last 11 years. There were 33 kidnapping incidents in 2019, two of which involved crewmembers being taken from hijacked vessels when pirates disembarked. Three out of the six hijacked vessels in 2019 were petroleum tankers.

During the first six months of 2020, there were 53 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. Approximately 50 percent of all incidents of piracy and armed robbery are taking place off Nigeria. So far, in 2020, there have been 16 kidnappings, 2 hijacking-kidnapping combinations, and 1 hijacking.

Pirate Range

African pirates operational range has increased due to faster ships, modern weapons and GPS.

There is a very real and present danger of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. In the Gulf of Guinea, the north-easternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean, in 2016 there has been an upswing in sea piracy. Attacks against oil pipelines and facilities ashore around the Niger Delta have escalated. Maritime security is important for the sustainable development and growth of the global seafaring industry. African pirates violence and cost of piracy on African coasts and in African sea waters is inestimable.

West African piracy more than doubled in 2018 to become the most dangerous area in the World; the waters off of Benin saw a dramatic increase in 2018 with five attacks reported compared with none in 2017; three ships were boarded, two were hijacked, and 48 crew taken hostage or kidnapped. Piracy armed sea robbery in Africa is alive.

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