2020 has been a bad year for many segments of the shipping industry. And then comes the growing piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea which have constantly been plaguing the industry ever since it got coined as an ‘industry’.
Like Somalia’s coast, Maersk has now called on world leaders for launching an “effective military capacity” in the Gulf of Guinea to safeguard the security of vessels and crew members alike.
In an email to ShippingWatch, Aslak Ross, head of HSE and Marine Standards at Maersk, says that the condition is so severe that it’s life-threatening for anyone to sail in the West African waters, especially in waters near Nigeria.
As a direct result, Maersk has put forward a two-fold effort in the Gulf of Guinea for withstanding the ever-growing kidnappings, boardings, armed robberies, and assaults. The two-fold approach puts forth a short-term solution, besides a lengthy initiative to improve the situation.
“The risk has reached a level where effective military capacity needs to be deployed to secure adequate mitigation in the short term, ” added Alex Ross.
Notable industry figures have warned that piracy has evolved, and now, these highly organized groups are increasingly targeting the crew of merchant ships instead of the cargo or fuel.
At FleetMon, we have constantly covered piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea. Ross’ statement comes in the backdrop of MAERSK CARDIFF being reportedly attacked twice in the Nigerian waters just this Wednesday.
Previously, MAERSK CADIZ too experienced an attempt from pirates to hijack the ship onboard but the crew onboard averted the danger.
When it came to the Somalian coast, which previously used to be the hotbed for anything illicit in the maritime domain, international naval vessels could easily patrol those waters since it was located close to the Suez Canal. At the same time, West African pirates have been able to operate with relative impunity.
Recently, the Danish government has taken up initiatives to create popular support from other European Union member nations for launching a joint naval mission in the Gulf of Guinea, something that the international community had done for the Somalian coast.