GoG piracy - ITF calls for collaborative action

Nov 15 2019

The International Transport Worker’ Federation (ITF) has called for urgent global and regional co-operation to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

This follows two serious incidents that have taken place in the area this month.


On 2nd November, pirates kidnapped nine crew members from the Norwegian-flagged bulk carrier ‘Bonita’, while the vessel was at anchor off the coast of Benin, and two days later, four crew members were taken hostage off the coast of Togo from the Greek-flagged Aframax ‘Elka Aristotle’.


Several other abductions have been reported in the Gulf of Guinea in recent months, including eight crew members taken hostage off Cameroon in August, and 10 Turkish seafarers off the coast of Nigeria in July.


In recent years, and months, the frequency of attacks has  increased, the ITF said. Sixty-two seafarers have reportedly been captured off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon this year.


ITF seafarers’ section chair, David Heindel, called on the shipping industry, governments and unions to work collaboratively to eliminate piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.


“Alarmingly, the frequency and severity of attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Guinea is increasing, with a spate of recent kidnappings and ruthless acts of violence in recent months. The entire maritime industry urgently needs to take action to improve prevention, reporting and response to attacks across the Gulf,” said Heindel.


“Coastal countries in the Gulf must work with industry and unions to identify actions, and allocate adequate resources, to reduce the risks posed to seafarers and shipping. 


“While we acknowledge the difficult international regulatory environment, we must continue to build capacity and cooperation, and address the mounting human toll that these attacks are having on lives and physical and mental health transiting through the waters of West Africa,” he added.


Last month, the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported that the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally.


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