Report: Kidnappings By Pirates up 40% in Gulf of Guinea

By Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja with agency report

Kidnappings rose by 40 per cent in the Gulf of Guinea in the first nine months of this year, a report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) , indicated yesterday.

It noted that the region off West Africas coast now accounts for 95 per cent of global maritime kidnappings, a Reuters report stated.

The IMB said 80 seafarers were taken in the Gulf of Guinea, a 2.3 million square kilometres (888,000 square metres) area bordering more than a dozen countries, sharply up from the same period in 2019, adding that the pirates are attacking further out to sea than before.

Pirates armed with guns and knives attack everything from oil platforms to fishing vessels and refrigerated cargo ships.

In one attack 95 nautical miles off the coast, the furthest offshore attack reported in the region, pirates took 13 crew hostage, which the IMB said illustrated how well-organised and far-reaching the pirates are

The report stated that the bulk of the attackers come from Nigerias Niger Delta, which produces most of the petroleum from the country, Africas largest oil exporter, stressing that the restive region has an underdeveloped economy and limited jobs for locals.

In 2019, Nigeria enacted a standalone law against piracy, and in August, a court in the oil hub of Port Harcourt made the first convictions under the legislation.

According to the IMB report, pirates armed with guns and knives are now abducting bigger groups of seafarers at further distances off....

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