2021 May 18 14:30
So far, 99 maritime companies, organisations and flag states, including BIMCO, have signed the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy, according to BIMCO's release.
In 2020, 135 crew were kidnapped from their ships globally, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for over 95% of the crew numbers kidnapped. This has happened in international waters in an area less than 20% of the size of the sea area dominated by Somali pirates a few years ago. The pirates launch their attacks from the Niger Delta, where they also subsequently hold their hostages.
BIMCO welcomes the positive steps taken by regional states, especially Nigeria. However, in reality, it will take some years before these states can effectively manage the problem. In the interim period the best solution is to have capable military assets from able and willing non-regional states to actively combat piracy in the area in support of the efforts by countries in the region. The signatories firmly believe that piracy and attempts at kidnapping are preventable through active anti-piracy operations and that by the end of 2023 the number of attacks by pirates can be reduced by at least 80%.
During its session from 5 to 14 May 2021, the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) discussed Gulf of Guinea piracy. Although development of related IMO resolutions on this topic is constructive and welcome, much more remains to be done, particularly in the short term. The launch of the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy is therefore a timely expression of the maritime industry’s call for further action, through a wide range of collective efforts, to end piracy urgently in the Gulf of Guinea.
BIMCO maintains that the piracy can be suppressed with as little as two frigates with helicopters and one maritime patrol aircraft which actively combat piracy in the area. It is therefore imperative that non-regional countries provide the necessary assets on a rotation basis, and that one or more states in the area support the effort with logistics and prosecution of arrested pirates. The Declaration does not aspire to provide the long-term solution to the piracy problem but to help make seafarers safe today.
A group of shipowners convened by BIMCO drafted the Declaration. The aim is to speak plainly about the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea and get all the stakeholders involved to address the real problems.
BIMCO is the world's largest international shipping association, with around 1,900 members in more than 120 countries, representing around 60% of the world’s tonnage.