Bimco calls for global players to join the anti-piracy party

The Baltic International Maritime Council (Bimco) has called on global maritime powers maritime powers to increase their presence in the  Gulf of Guinea and expand their collaboration with local states to curb piracy. 

“We look towards the European Union (EU), China and the United States (US) to join forces and deploy naval capacity in the Gulf of Guinea to end this constant threat to seafarers,”  said Jakob P Larsen, Bimco head of maritime security, says.

He said piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was “an unacceptable burden to seafarers and shipping companies”, pointing out that around 40 ships had been attacked in the Gulf of Guinea in the past 12 months.

Most recently, six seafarers were kidnapped from the MSC Mandy, which was en route to Lagos, Nigeria.

 “Bimco remains very thankful to the regional navies who are working tirelessly and with great sacrifice to secure their seas,” said Larsen, adding that while these efforts commanded Bimco’s “deepest respect” pirates in the Gulf of Guinea could still operate largely unchecked in the open seas, outside of the territorial waters, and on occasion even strike inside territorial waters.

“It is time to step up law enforcement efforts, establish control of the sea in the Gulf of Guinea, relieve seafarers from the threat and the psychological pressure, and allow the countries in the region to harvest the full economic potential of the seas,” commented Larsen.

He said international sea and air law enforcement assets, such as naval ships with helicopters, would be able to deliver a concrete and rapid contribution to the maritime security situation. If such assets were supported by onboard regional law enforcement officials in charge of the law enforcement element, operations could be conducted without infringing on the regional states’ sovereignty. 

“While longer-term capacity building efforts are commended, what is needed now is substantially more assets at sea and in the air. It is an obvious solution which can deliver the necessary effect with the desired speed, without compromising the territorial integrity of the countries in the region,” Larsen said.

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