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Thread: Small Wars at Sea: 21st century piracy

  1. #21
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Gulf of Guinea: a new focal point?

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    I created this new thread, but having copied over eight posts from the thread 'The Gulf of Guinea and West Africa: a new focal point?' so the starting post now appears as Post No.9

    My explanation: Piracy off West Africa's has been a problem for many years, for sometime now reporting has shown a growth in attacks and some comparisons have been drawn with Somali piracy - which now appears to have abated (ends).

    SWC have touched upon the potential for trouble in West Africa, Guinea and the waters offshore - the Gulf Of Guinea, where there is more piracy than off Somalia and oil shipments go AWOL.

    Taken from a commercial offering:
    Summary

    The Gulf of Guinea is staring at a precipice of regional maritime insecurity. The continuing economic, social and political impact is pronounced and will continue unless there is focused investment in both manpower and resources by more capable outside nations or organisations. The loss of $2 billion US to the local annual economy - from offshore oil, fishing, and commercial shipping - is too large a price to pay for a region which is spasmodically emerging from decades of civil war and anarchy.

    The region produces 5.4 million barrels of oil per day, and it contains 50.4 billion barrels of proven reserves. Nigeria now supplies 10% of US imported oil and is the world’s eighth largest oil exporter. Events in Afghanistan and Somalia illustrate the dangers that come from the nexus between organised crime, terrorism and failed/failing states. While many look to Africa for an African solution to retake control of their seas, they can’t achieve this without timely Western assistance.

    Our collective inactivity is the product of a paucity of constabulary platforms and hamstrung political will which fractures any hope of a comprehensive approach to the problem. So perhaps if we were to learn a lesson or two from Somalia and Afghanistan rather than just identify them, shouldn’t our militaries provide a gentle hand on the tiller and guide the people of the Gulf of Guinea towards a more secure and stable future?
    Link:http://www.defenceiq.com/article.cfm?externalID=2985&mac=DFIQ_OI_Featured_2 010&utm_source=defenceiq.com&utm_medium=email&utm_ campaign=DefOptIn&utm_content=8/19/10"]http://www.defenceiq.com/article.cfm...ontent=8/19/10[/URL]

    From my armchair this is an issue far beyond the waters and yet again an implied Western naval deployment. Nor setting up local coastguard etc.

    Not to overlook the impact of cocaine trafficking.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-21-2013 at 09:20 AM. Reason: Add Mod's note
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  2. #22
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    Default The Gulf of Guinea: A New Focal Point?

    "So perhaps if we were to learn a lesson or two from Somalia and Afghanistan rather than just identify them...."

    Impact of cocaine trafficking might be degraded if we learned a lesson from LATAM:

    http://ndupress.ndu.edu/cocaine-instability-africa.html

  3. #23
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

    Picked up the other day, an IISS Strategic Comment mainly on piracy off Somalia, but has passages on the situation off the West African coast:
    Meanwhile, piracy off the West African coast is emerging as a separate threat. Here the modus operandi is quite different. Eight tankers were hijacked – and another 30 attacks thwarted – in the eight months to September 2011.
    Link:http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...den-their-net/
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  4. #24
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    Violence against shippers new norm off West Africa

    LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – The waters off West Africa's coast are now a constant danger for those shipping goods and crude oil in the region, analysts said Tuesday, a day after pirates killed two sailors near Nigeria's coast.

    While shootings and stabbings have happened before in the region, Monday's assault was one of the deadliest attacks in waters now considered to be as dangerous as those near Somalia. And such attacks are likely to continue ...

    In August, London-based Lloyd's Market Association — an umbrella group of insurers — listed Nigeria, neighboring Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia, where two decades of war and anarchy have allowed piracy to flourish.

    Pirates in West Africa have been more willing to use violence in their robberies, as they target the cargo, not the crew for kidnapping like off Somalia. Analysts say many of the pirates come from Nigeria, where corrupt law enforcement allows criminality to thrive ...

  5. #25
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default International Maritime Bureau

    Anything piracy and more

    13.02.2012: 0250 UTC: Posn: 04:43N - 003:44E, Around 110nm south of Lagos, Nigeria.
    Armed pirates chased and fired upon a drifting bulk carrier. Vessel raised alarm and headed towards Lagos. All crew except the bridge team took shelter in the citadel. Due to the continuous firing the Captain and the C/E were shot. The IMB Piracy Reporting Center immediately informed the Nigerian authorities who sent out a rescue team. Due to rough seas the Nigerian naval team could not reach the location. A French Warship in the area which received the warning broadcast went to the aid of the distress vessel and despatched a helicopter. A boarding team boarded the vessel and escorted the vessel to Lagos port. The vessel is presently at Inner anchorage Lagos port. The authorities boarded the vessel and a medical team gave medical assistance to the crew. Later all crew members and the two bodies were taken ashore.
    Seems there's more to Nigeria than just pirates.
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  6. #26
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pirates, Geography and navigation

    From NATO CIMIC's offering:
    Lloyd’s List reports that on 23 March, the Liberia-flagged chemical and oil tanker Zouzou was hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea by approximately 12 armed pirates. The pirates used a mothership and skiffs for the attack, which is a new tactic that is usually used by Somali pirates. The attackers have since left the vessel, after stealing some items from the ship, leaving the tanker’s crew unharmed.

    This Day, a Nigerian news source, reports that, within the past two
    months, 22 armed attacks were carried out on ships in the Bight of Benin.
    Last year the region reported 58 pirate attacks...

    According to IMBs Piracy reporting Centre (PRC) a chemical tanker was attacked by armed pirates on 22 March about 100 nm off Bonny Island, Nigeria. The master triggered the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) and the crew retreated to the citadel. A nearby US warship responded to the alert. The pirates aborted the attack and the tanker’s crew is safe.
    Link:https://www.cimicweb.org/Pages/v6/welcome.html and look for the Mediterranean Basin Review (OK stretching geography a wee bit to the Gulf of Guinea).

    Slightly puzzled that a US warship was in the vicinity, just like a French warship in Stan's post. The wonders of navigation in such waters.
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  7. #27
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default French tanker believed held by pirates off Ivory Coast

    Just an update:
    A French-owned Luxembourg-flagged tanker with 17 crew members that went missing off Ivory Coast at the weekend is believed to have been hijacked by Nigerian pirates, the International Maritime Bureau said on Monday.
    Note the hub is Nigeria and the commodity sought oil products.

    Link:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...9130A020130204
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    Default Global Piracy Trends

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/crime-...3BtaA--;_ylv=3

    I found it interesting that the most active area for piracy now is off the Indonesian coast again. Navy seems to be doing a good job off the Horn of Africa.

    Indonesia’s 17,500 islands and their surrounding waters now take the title as the world’s most heavily pirated.
    Pirates arm themselves no matter where on the globe they operate, but perhaps no pirates on earth arm themselves with such high-caliber weapons as the pirates in Nigeria have over the last year.

  9. #29
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default

    The figures collected by the IMB (international Maritime Bureau), are a vital barometer of pirate activity and there is a good graphic:
    Worldwide Incidents 2013: 100 reported incidents including four hijackings.

    Somali related incidents 2013: Six reported incidents including one hijacking.

    Current crew / vessels held by Somali pirates: hostages - 71 / vessels - 5

    Nigeria related incidents 2013: 19 reported incidents including one hijacking.
    Link:http://www.icc-ccs.org.uk/piracy-rep...cynewsafigures
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  10. #30
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Piracy at sea and ashore

    A Reuters report on West African piracy, which lays much of the blame on Nigerian gangs, as illustrated by this passage:
    Nigerian pirates can make in 10 days what Somalis make in 10 months....It's easier to offload oil to the local black market than negotiate ransom with foreign ship owners.
    The usual references to greater regional co-operation, with external (EU) funding for coastguard training. When as a speaker at IISS last week remarked:
    The main OCG is the state.
    Another contributor pointed to the huge diversion under-way in Nigeria of oil, which can only be explained by systematic and widespread collusion, including purchases by the international oil companies. IIRC 10% of production was missing.

    Link To Reuters:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...0BIAJ520130529

    Link to IISS talk on West African crime and development:http://www.iiss.org/en/events/events...velopment-98fd
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  11. #31
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default West African piracy: an old problem escalates

    Piracy off West Africa's has been a problem for many years, for sometime now reporting has shown a growth in attacks and some comparisons have been drawn with Somali piracy - which now appears to have abated.

    There are a number of posts on the West African piracy (WAP) theme on another thread, which will be copied over here soon.

    Reuters has a short report today that starts with:
    Pirate attacks off Nigeria's coast have jumped by a third this year with ships passing through West Africa's Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities hub, increasingly under threat from gangs wanting to snatch cargoes and crews.

    Unlike the dangerous waters off Somalia and the Horn of Africa on the east coast of Africa, through which ships now speed with armed guards on board, many vessels have to anchor to do business off West African countries, with little protection.
    Link:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...99G16320131017

    There is a significant difference IMHO. The West African nation-states may not be very effective at governance, but they know how to make money and how involved are those who are in governance - illustrated by the amount of Nigerian oil that goes AWOL and the drug trade in Guinea-Bissau.
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  12. #32
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    Hat tip to Red Rat for the pointer to this USNI article on the Nigerian Navy:http://blog.usni.org/2013/10/15/nige...in-stormy-seas

    One hopes this navy has no "Nelson's" aboard who look the other way.
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    To the extent that piracy in West Africa is driven by Nigeria - it is a very different beast than Somalia.

    This is a large scale criminal enterprise, with collusion from senior members of the Military & government. It is more sophisticated than Somalia and the politics behind it is not "open and shut".

    These people aren't just taking sailors for ransom - they are also stealing oil.

  14. #34
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Beneath the waves another (smaller) problem

    Instead of traditional piracy this BBC report is about illegal fishing off West Africa; which is not a new problem and came to my notice when I heard a Russian trawler had been detained by Senegal's navy.

    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-afri...itter_bbcworld
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  15. #35
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Piracy: an update in six charts

    The Independent using a consultancy report has six charts that show the emergence of a 'new pirate era':http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-10267161.html

    The current focal point is, once again, the international waters of the Straits of Malacca and South China Sea, followed by West Africa territorial waters and both share fuel / oil tankers being sought.

    Note the plight of seafarers:
    there are 38 people currently held hostage around the world....26 seafarers are still held by Somali pirates following the release of four hostages earlier this year; those remaining captives were picked up in March 2012 and their families last heard from them in February 2013.
    This the main thread on piracy and another for off Somalia: More Piracy Near Somalia
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-02-2016 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Merged in, after 2.9k reads and slightly edited.
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  16. #36
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    Default New York Times Series: The Outlaw Ocean

    First part
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...cean.html?_r=1


    In this series on lawlessness on the high seas, Ian Urbina reveals that crime and violence in international waters often goes unpunished. JULY 25, 2015
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-25-2016 at 03:55 PM. Reason: 4104v before merging.
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  17. #37
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Back to the Gulf of Guinea

    A laudatory report on a thwarted act of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, once again hijacking a small oil products tanker, but with a couple of sentences that made me pause:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...aining-mission

    First the context:
    One-fifth of all maritime crime in the world is committed in the Gulf of Guinea, but that is only the tip of the iceberg since an estimated two-thirds of piracy acts there are never reported...
    After eight hours of talking the Nigerian Navy chose another option:
    Never has a west African navy carried out an opposed boarding before....(ah, but)...Six pirates were captured and 18 crew members freed. Several pirates escaped with two crew members who remain hostages...
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  18. #38
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    Default Piracy off African shores 2018

    So, ransom paid or did someone dispatch a mop-up crew?

    The crew of an oil tanker that had been hijacked by pirates has regained control of the ship, Anglo-Eastern, a ship management company, said today.
    Pirates hijacked the merchant vessel Marine Express, which was carrying about 14,900 tons of gas, last Thursday.
    "All crew members are reported to be safe and well and the cargo intact," Anglo-Eastern said.
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/...ry?id=52873042

    As of 0330 hours GMT on Thursday, when she was last in touch, the Express was at an anchorage off the port of Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea, an area known for a high risk of piracy. She had 22 crewmembers and 13,500 tons of gasoline on board.
    If the Express' disappearance is the result of a hijacking, it would be the second in three weeks off Benin. On January 9, U.K. shipowner Union Maritime lost contact with the product tanker Barrett, which was at anchor off Cotonou. The Barrett had been taken by pirates, and her crew were in captivity for six days while a "resolution process" moved forward. The crew and the vessel were eventually released.
    https://www.maritime-executive.com/a...nea#gs._scRCYE

    Note: for reference, see the locked mega-thread on Somali piracy
    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5621
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-31-2018 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Add last link and intro. Merged into this thread.
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  19. #39
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    Default South Korean navy to West Africa

    This is a long reach as the ship comes from off Somalia:
    South Korea has deployed a naval vessel from its regional anti-piracy effort to help in the search after a fishing boat was hijacked by pirates off Ghana, South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.
    Link:https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-so...-idUKKBN1H70D6
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-31-2018 at 07:19 PM. Reason: 55,134v
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