West vs East – The rise of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

A Nigerian naval member stands in a vessel during joint security operation. Credit: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

As the piracy threat rises in West Africa, SAS investigates the implications for crew safety and the unique issues that make piracy in the Gulf of Guinea more complex to tackle than in East Africa

In April nine private maritime security contractors were arrested for suspected firearm possession in Nigerian waters. The use of PMSCs in the region marked a change in the way shipping is protecting crew against a rising threat in the region, despite the possibility of arrest for those tasked with keeping crew out of harms way.

According to the International Maritime Bureau’s first quarter 2019 piracy results, there has been a sharp rise in piracy attacks in West African waters, despite an overall global decrease in incidents. It seems only natural that shipowners would want to protect their vessels operating in the Gulf of Guinea, especially given the violent reputation awarded to West African pirates in the past.

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