BIMCO renews call for international naval support off West Africa

BIMCO has renewed calls for a coalition of international navies to patrol the waters off West Africa as incidents of piracy and kidnappings spike in the region. According to statistics from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) there were 40 kidnappings in the waters off Nigeria alone in the last quarter of 2018. Violent incidents have continued to proliferate across the Gulf of Guinea this year. In West Africa, there appears to be challenges with underreporting, which is estimated at as much as 40%, according to the IMB.

The solution, much like off Somalia nine years ago, is to get foreign navies involved, according to BIMCO’s head of maritime security, Jakob Larsen.

“To be honest, unless we see international naval support and close cooperation between international navies and local law enforcement, I doubt that we will see the numbers go down in any significant way,” Larsen said in a recent BIMCO publication.

“Significant capacity building is going on in the region and naval forces are being trained, but these initiatives are all aimed at the longer term and do not solve the problem right now. Therefore, we need to step up the effort. Only then can we really turn the tide on piracy in the region,” he said.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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