Naval News & Reviews
22 March 2016
Author: Ports & Ships
NIGERIA & EQUATORIAL GUINEA SIGN MARITIME SECURITY ACCORD
Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea
An agreement that will lead to joint patrols and the strengthening of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea was signed by Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea last week.
The region needs more nations to collaborate closely with each other in stamping out piracy and lawlessness that is becoming rampant at times. Nigeria has taken the lead recently in committing its navy and security services to take the initiative by responding to calls for assistance when merchant ships are attacked, even on occasions when the attack has taken place in another country's territorial waters. This has led to a number of arrests of pirates caught in the act of fleeing the ships they had seized.
The agreement was signed by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of Nigeria while on a two-day visit to Equatorial Guinea.
The attacks on ships in the Gulf are usually for purposes of taking hostages and ransoming members of the crew and for the theft of fuel on board the vessel, which is often transshipped onto another vessel taking part in the heist. Pirates mostly target tankers for this purpose but other types of merchant ships also come under attack. Recently a Safmarine container vessel was seized, but released shortly afterward by the Nigerian Navy which sent warships to the scene before the pirates could disappear.
"The conclusion and signing of the agreement is expected to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea and help in curbing maritime crimes such as piracy, crude oil theft, sabotage of oil rigs and arms smuggling," said a spokesman after the signing took place.