Violent attacks spreading through the Gulf of Guinea.
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is becoming increasingly dangerous (34 incidents from January to September 2012, up from 30 last year) and has pushed westward from Benin to neighbouring Togo.
IMB said attacks are often violent, planned and aimed at stealing refined oil products which can be easily sold on the open market. To cover their tracks once the vessel is hijacked, pirates damage the communication equipment and at times even the navigation equipment.
Togo reported more attacks this year than in the previous five years combined, with three vessels hijacked, two boarded and six reporting attempted attacks. Off Benin, one ship was hijacked and one boarded. Nigeria accounted for 21 attacks, with nine vessels boarded, four hijacked, seven fired upon and one attempted attack.
Not all navies in the Gulf of Guinea have the resources to fight piracy far out at sea, so criminal gangs shift to other areas.
The Nigerian navy must be commended however on its reactions to a number of incidents where their presence was instrumental in rescuing vessels, said Captain Mukundan.
Source: International Maritime Bureau