Monday, July 15, 2013

African Continent: Maritime Piracy Attributed to Loss of US$2 Billion, Threat Increases in 2013

According to The Associated Press, and Cameroonian Prof. Joseph Vincent Ntuda Ebode, maritime piracy losses in 2012 were US$2 billion. 

The London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that pirates boarded a container ship and kidnapped the crew some 170 miles (274 kilometers) off the coast of Nigeria.

COMMENT: A group that monitors piracy says well-armed pirates are using new strategies to hijack ships and widening their area of operations amid a "worrying surge" in attacks, kidnappings and armed robberies in West Africa's oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.

The IMB reported that actual or attempted incidents of maritime piracy so far this year (2013) has reached 22, a major increase over six incidents in 2011.

As I have said so often in the past, preventing maritime piracy is in no way similar to splitting the atom.

Rather, it is based on all pleasure and commercial vessels having an anti-piracy crisis management plan that encompasses long-range surveillance of potential threats, reliance on technology, an analysis of all incidents reported to the IMB, a formidable armed capability and high-tech communications.

Although there are critics who challenge vessels arming themselves, the real question is: How bad do you want to avoid losing a vessel and/or having a crew kidnapped for months?

If there are prohibitive international agreements against vessels being armed on the high sea, particularly in waters controlled by pirates, then it is incumbent on affected nations to pressure their governments to obtain the necessary legal and diplomatic waivers, or engage in reimbursable agreements with their nations' armed forces.