Friday, 11 July 2014

UK Shipping Chamber Attacks Pirate Attacks


According to a press release Issued by the  UK Chamber of Shipping on 10 July 2014, almost all of the UK’s annual £6,3 bn of trade with the region is put at risk by being moved through the Gulf of Guinea, including 12 per cent of the UK’s oil.

“In the past decade, 45 seafarers have been killed, and 459 seafarers have been held hostage,” said Guy Platten, Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping. “This report sets out for the first time the economic threats of the regions’ lack of maritime security.



“Most people are aware of pirate activity off Somalia, but lawlessness in the Gulf of Guinea is a major threat to our seafarers, the UK’s energy and trade security, and to the economic development of the region.


“Nigeria and other states in the region have known for 30 years that piracy was a problem, but too little has been done and enough is enough.”



The Facts:


  • 45 seafarers have been killed in the past decade
  •  459 seafarers have been held hostage over the same period
  • A minimum of one attack per week on a ship operating in the region
  • It is believed two thirds of incidents go  unreported
  •  60 per cent of attacks took place in Nigerian territorial waters last year
  • There is increased violence within attacks
  • Circa 12 per cent of the UK’s crude oil is imported from Nigeria, (by 2050 the region provide 25% of the world’s oil output)
  • Nigerian port host circa 5000 vessels each year
  • Nigerian studies show 300,000 barrels of oil are stolen each day
According to the Chamber, the lack of security in the region costs Nigeria £7,2bn annually in oil theft alone. This demonstrates how criminal activity is severely hampering the region’s potential for prosperity and improved living conditions for the bulk of the nation's population living below OECD and UN poverty lines.

The report raises the issue: "The UK Government must do more to build maritime governance in the region?" But, should it?  Shouldn't we ask: "Why doesn't Nigeria, which by the way will soon be providing one quarter of the world's oil, reinvest its profits into a better security infrastructure instead of investing their profits into foreign accounts and development?"

Neighbouring states acknowledge the economic and social developmental benefits of improved maritime security, resulting in increased positive economic activity from measures they have taken to secure capital and goods moving in, out and around their ports and territorial waters. 

"Their maritime security has improved by investing in additional security patrols, and are now seen as more secure economies for maritime trade,” assured Platten 

The report argues this means using UK-based expertise to help train local law enforcement judicial services and making sure criminals are brought to justice. But, remember, this is the same UK that still has sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, military and police cover ups in the region and a lack of control over Orange Order Free Masons marching through unwelcoming neighbourhoods. 

And this is the same Nigeria that lacks the financial, military and political will to adequately improve its national defences and security; if they did, then they could rescue and repatriate over 100 school girls kidnapped months ago.

Perhaps shipping companies should stop waiting for governments to "do something" (which they can ill-afford) and perhaps arm their own maritime escorts.  It worked in the "old days."

The views expressed here are that of the author's and not that of NAVAL FORCES or the Mönch Publishing Group.


NOTE: NAVAL FORCES magazine is the OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL NAVAL MEDIA PARTNER: MARITIME & COSTAL SECURITY (West) AFRICA 2014, Accra: 19-21 November 2014 - http://www.maritimesecurity-westafrica.com/  

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