MARITIME SECURITY: Attacks on Vessels in Gulf of Guinea To Drop Further in 2022

By DAPO OLAWUNI

A maritime expert and Group Security Director at Bourbon, Mr Francois Morizur has predicted that the Gulf of Guinea would witness a drop in piracy, attack on vessels and other criminal activities in the current year 2022.

According to him, few pockets of attacks would only be witnessed on vessels located in anchorage areas that are not sufficiently protected.

Our correspondent learnt that global piracy in 2021 was at its lowest level since 1994, with the Gulf of Guinea witnessing a drastic decrease in piracy acts with a drop of more than 60 percent compared to 2020.

Morizur’s experience includes 30 years in the French Navy’s special operations force and 13 years as Bourbon’s Country Security Manager for Nigeria and Cameroon.

In his recent predictions for pirate activities for year 2022, he said that the Gulf of Guinea has generally witnessed a drop in pirate activities in 2021, compared to previous years.

According to him, several factors would force piracy to decline in Gulf of Guinea in 2022, these factors include;

– The recently-enacted Nigerian antipiracy law, the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019

РNigeria’s Deep Blue Project, a maritime security surge operation

– Increasing numbers of military maritime platforms/operations by coastal countries

– The EU Coordinated Maritime Presence / GoG, a multilateral maritime patrol effort by European nations in the Gulf of Guinea

– Reduced activity of the “long-range” maritime pirate groups

He said “Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, we can expect a limited number of piracy incidents over the next six months within the GOG, with occasional attacks on the high and very high seas (150-220 miles off Nigeria), attacks in the “soft zones” identified by GOG pirates (Offshore Benin/Togo/Ghana: Zone 1 and Offshore Gabon/Malabo/Sao Tome: Zone 2). The attackers generally target unprotected vessels and (at least occasionally) vessels located in anchorage areas that are not sufficiently protected.

“Their objective will remain the same: the abduction of a massive number of crew members”

“The case of the firefight between the occupants of a speed boat and a special force attached to the Danish frigate Esbern Snare on November 24 demonstrated the many gaps in the coordination of the fight against maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

“The management of this case (and the fate of the arrested pirates in particular) will determine the range of operational activities of European warships operating in the emerging Coordinated Maritime Presence framework. This new initiative is an essential security support for vessels transiting the international waters and exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of West Africa”

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