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West Africa waters are now high piracy risk

23 March 2012

The growing attacks on shipping and the kidnapping of crewmembers off the West African coast has led the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) – the body involving the ITF and maritime employers – to declare the territorial waters of Benin and Nigeria as a piracy high risk area. A growing number of incidents have been reported to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) worldwide piracy reporting centre – the most recent are listed below.

The designation means that seafarers in the area will be offered the same benefits and protection as in the high risk area in the Gulf of Aden and around Somalia. These include:

The IBF states that: "The increase in the number of attacks and the violent tactics of hostage taking applied by armed gangs have been found disturbing, particularly in the waters and ports of Nigeria and Benin. The necessity of an adequate response to the situation has become clear in an effort to bring greater security and guarantees to seafarers serving on IBF ships in the area."
 
Meanwhile, with the number of successful attacks by Somali pirates falling as a result of enhanced security measures, 
NATO has announced an extension of its current anti-piracy mission in the region until the end of 2014. The presence of foreign navies is believed to have reduced the pirates' success rate.

According to the IMB, Somali pirates currently hold captive around 14 vessels and 199 hostages. Hostages continue to include seven Indian seafarers from the Asphalt Venture and four South Koreans from the Gemini, still held captive despite the payment of ransoms.
 
The latest incidents worldwide reported to the IMB and NATO Shipping Centre include:

All attacks and suspicious sightings should be reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, Tel: +603 2031 0014 (24 hours), Email: imbkl@icc-ccs.org




 
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