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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 07:45
Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie, Chief of Ghana’s Defence Staff

Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie, Chief of Ghana’s Defence Staff


15 September 2015 by Jonathan Katzenellenbogen - defenceWeb


The Chief of Ghana’s Defence Staff has appealed for additional international help in fighting mounting piracy off the West African coast.


Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie said the Gulf of Guinea had become the world’s “piracy hotspot” and that West Africa needed greater international help from the world’s larger navies to help secure the region’s waters. The South African Navy had made a number of visits to Ghana for joint exercises and their support in fighting piracy would be “most welcome,” he said.

The recent discovery of large deposits of oil and gas off the coast of Ghana have raised fears in Accra about the rise in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Quashie also said he wanted to see greater cooperation on security matters from the oil companies. “They (the oil companies) must stop using the excuse that they are not supposed to do anything for the military,” he said.



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17 mars 2014 1 17 /03 /mars /2014 12:50
EU adopts strategy on the Gulf of Guinea


Brussels, 17 March 2014 7671/14 (OR. en) PRESSE 148


The Council today adopted an EU strategy on the Gulf of Guinea to support the efforts of the region and its coastal states to address the many challenges of maritime insecurity and organised crime.

Welcoming the decision, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said: "I am glad that the Council has today adopted the EU strategy on the Gulf of Guinea. Its adoption just ahead of the EU-Africa Summit showcases the strong relationship between the EU and Africa and the importance we attach to close and comprehensive cooperation with our African partners. It is crucial now to support our West and Central African partners' efforts to tackle the complex challenges of maritime insecurity and organised crime. These threaten stability in the wider sub-region and pose a growing threat to the EU as well."


In order to support partner countries and the regional African-led coordinating platforms emerging to tackle the complex and wide-ranging challenges of maritime insecurity and organised crime facing West and Central Africa, the EU and its member states will focus on four objectives: building a common understanding of the scale of the threat in the Gulf of Guinea and the need to address it; helping regional governments put in place institutions and capabilities to ensure security and the rule of law; supporting the development of prosperous economies in the coastal countries; and strengthening cooperation structures between the countries of the region to ensure effective action across borders at sea and on land.


The strategy also recognises the need to protect both the populations in the Gulf of Guinea region and European citizens from the threats that emanate from the region, including piracy, terrorism and trafficking of people, drugs and arms. It covers the 6.000 km coastline from Senegal to Angola including the islands of Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe.


More information: Council conclusions on the Gulf of Guinea

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 08:45
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea not given the attention it deserves

Nigerian Navy Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbor at the MCSA conference


26 November 2013 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb


Despite the rise in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the west coast of Africa, international attention is still focused on Somalia and the Horn of Africa on the east African coast, with experts saying West Africa is not attracting the type of attention that it deserves.


This was the thread of the opening keynote speakers at the two-day Maritime and Coastal Security Africa 2013 conference which commenced at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Monday. The conference is being attended by 500 local and international naval, academic and industry members to discuss the price of piracy in Africa and approaches towards maritime governance, risk and defence in the African maritime environment.


R Adm Ben Bekkering (Netherlands Navy) was Commander of Task Force 508, NATO's contribution to the international counter piracy effort in the waters around Somalia, during 2012. He noted that the last successful pirate attack on a commercial ship off Somalia was on 10 May 2012. However, small fishing dhows are still being hijacked, principally for use by pirates as mother ships.


“If you talk about complex maritime security issues,” Bekkering told the conference, “then I would say that the waters of the Gulf of Guinea are far more complex than the piracy problem we face off Somalia.”


R Adm Emmanuel Ogbor, Chief of Policy and Plans of the Nigerian Navy, provided a detailed overview of the piracy threat in the Gulf of Guinea. He noted that seafarers are becoming increasingly weary of using the seas in the Gulf of Guinea, with piracy levels comparable to that off the Somali coast.


While all the major powers of the world are mobilised in a concerted effort to clear the coast of Somalia of piracy, Ogbor observed that there exists the need for the member States of the Gulf of Guinea not to allow their territorial waters to repeat that of Somalia and to forge a concerted effort to stem piracy.


As R Adm Hanno Teuteberg, Chief Director Maritime Strategy for the SA Navy said in his opening address on behalf of V Adm Johannes Mudimu (Chief of the SA Navy), security remains a State activity.


This, Ogbor explained, will call for member states to strengthen their capacities.


Both the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea are crucial transit areas for international shipping and both are vulnerable to pirate attacks. However, Ogbor explained that the root causes of piracy in the two areas were different. Whilst the cause of piracy around the Gulf of Aden can be traced to the collapse of the Somali central government following years of civil war, that off the West African coast is due to weak and bad governance, precarious legal frameworks and poor law enforcement.


The Somali pirates are able to anchor their hijacked vessels along the Somali coastline and keep their crew in plain sight for long periods. The pirates are only interested in returning the hijacked vessel, its cargo and crew back to the shipping company in return for ransom.


The situation in the Gulf of Guinea is very different. As West African governments still have control of their territorial coastlines, pirate attacks cannot take place in plain sight. The main driver of piracy in this area is the regional oil black market, where the vessels are not taken, just the cargo. Illegal oil buyers and arms traders make the region more dangerous for oil tankers and general cargo vessels.


James Fisher, CEO of Paramount Naval Systems, told defenceWeb that piracy threatens more than just oil and gas assets, with criminal gangs at sea responsible for drug trafficking, arms smuggling, dumping of toxic waste, illegal bunkering and illegal fishing.


Indeed, it is estimated that one piracy attack a day has occurred in Gulf of Guinea in 2013. This figure is set to rise to two a day in 2014.


To combat this increasing threat, the Nigerian Navy is obtaining additional off-shore patrol vessels as well as instituting a local ship building programme.


As a result of the Nigerian Navy’s enhanced presence at sea, Ogbor was delighted to announce that over 14 vessels had been arrested in the last ten months whilst engaged directly or indirectly in acts of piracy.


Whilst numerous local and regional agreements to combat the piracy threat have been signed by West African states, there still remain a number of challenges. Chief amongst these is a lack of capacity to detect or gather timely intelligence about pirate or other illegal activities in the maritime environment and the lack of inter-operability and synergy amongst regional countries to share information.


Other challenges include inadequate capability and vessels, infrequent patrols and lack of training or equipment for boarding operations.


The varying legal frameworks and procedures amongst counties was also hampering law enforcement.


All was not bad news. Nigeria and Benin have signed a bi-lateral agreement for combined patrols, whilst the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has established a Maritime Zone to combat piracy. Agreement has been reached for the establishment of a Joint Operations Coordination Centre in the pilot Zone E (Benin, Niger, Nigeria and Togo) to coordinate all maritime security activities. This, together with a new multi-national headquarters and a Code of Conduct on the prevention of piracy shows a growing commitment in West Africa to counter piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.


ECOWAS is also working with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in terms of maritime domain awareness.


Whilst the East African response to piracy has relied on international assistance, West Africa has seen more regional cooperation.


“We are seeing a good African led response to dealing with the matters at sea in the Gulf of Guinea,” said Prof Francois Vrey of the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch.


Whilst the international community is focused in the Horn of Africa, attention is slowly shifting to the west, with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) set to discuss piracy and the maritime security threat in West Africa this week.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 13:50
Combatting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea - Subcommittee on Security and Defence


25-11-2013 SEDE
The SEDE subcommittee will exchange of views with representatives of the EEAS and DG Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid on Combatting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.  
When : 27 November 2013       

Further information meeting documents
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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 12:45
West Africa piracy surge endangering commodities shipping

19 June 2013 defenceWeb (Reuters)


Pirate attacks off West Africa's mineral-rich Gulf of Guinea have almost doubled from last year and threaten to increase the costs and jeopardise the shipping of commodities from the region.


The Gulf of Guinea, which includes Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast, is a major source of oil and cocoa and increasingly metals for world markets, although international navies are not actively engaged in counter-piracy missions in the region.


Unlike waters off Somalia and the Horn of Africa, where ships can transit past at high speed with armed guards on board, many vessels have to anchor off West African coastal nations, with little protection, making them a soft target for criminals, Reuters reports.


A study published on Tuesday showed piracy in the Gulf of Guinea cost the world economy between $740 million and $950 million last year and that figure is expected to grow in 2013.


Kaija Hurlburt of advocacy group Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), which co-authored the report, said the type of vessels attacked had become more diverse. "The impact on the commercial trade sector is a problem," she said.


A separate study by OBP earlier this year estimated the cost of Somali piracy fell 12.5 percent in 2012 to $5.7 billion-$6.1 billion, helped by vigorous navy action, the deployment of private armed security guards and defensive measures on ships.


In contrast, the World Bank in April estimated Somali piracy may still cost the world economy about $18 billion a year.


Data from watchdog the International Maritime Bureau, another of the latest study's authors, showed attacks in the Gulf of Guinea for the year to date reached 67 incidents, versus 34 in the same period last year. These included five attacks off Togo, versus five in the same period last year.


Apart from the fear of increasingly violent attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, the study said seafarers were concerned that authorities in the region could not be relied upon.


"We had a 'port inspection' and they took eight tins of paint, two coils of rope, and several bottles of whiskey," one seafarer said in the report. "If the 'authorities' do this, who do we rely on for help?"




Last week the Joint War Committee, which groups syndicate members from the Lloyd's Market Association (LMA) as well as representatives from London's insurance company market, added Togo to its list of high risk areas for merchant shipping, which already includes Nigeria and Benin.


"We were recognising the trend of increased risk to the assets the market insures," LMA senior executive Neil Roberts told Reuters. "All the reports indicate the situation will continue for a while. We need to be alive to that as insurers."


The study, which was also put together by industry alliance the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme, estimated the total insurance cost for the Gulf of Guinea last year was between $423 million to $437 million.


"We expect, especially with the expansion of the high risk zone by the Joint War Committee, that is going to lead to a higher cost of insurance," said OBP's Hurlburt.


"We have already seen a greater number of kidnappings for ransoms," she said. "There might be a higher cost for private security as we move forward."


Analysts say while Somali gangs have focused on capturing vessels to extract ransom money, criminality in West Africa, including oil theft, poses more complex problems.

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4 juillet 2012 3 04 /07 /juillet /2012 08:51



03 July 2012 by defenceWeb


Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council has allocated more than 3 billion Naira (US$18 million/R150 million) for the purchase of six security vessels in an ongoing effort to improve security along the nation’s waterways.


On June 27 the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, approved N3.238 billion (US$19.7 million/R161 million) for the purchase of the six vessels, which, according to information minister Labaran Maku, include three Manta ASD littoral interceptors. The origin of the other three boats was not specified.


Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, told reporters that a contract was approved for the acquisition of three boats for the security of vessels and ships, while the other three boats for the patrol of inland waterways would be procured for N233.6 million (US$1.4 million/R11 million).


Maku said three of the vessels would be used to secure ships within ports jurisdiction and would be operated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in conjunction with the Nigerian Navy.


The other three boats would be used for the security of inland waterways and would be operated by the Marine Police in conjunction with the National Inland Waterways Authority.


“The purchase of these boats will empower the Navy and the Nigerian Ports Authority to guarantee safety of vessels that come into our waterways, particularly in the Lagos area,” Maku said.


“The ministry also brought proposal to buy additional boats for inner waterways security. Looking at the memorandum that were submitted and the importance of these boats to secure both inner water ways and coastal areas, the Federal Executive Council gave the go ahead to the Ministry of Transport to purchase the boats to reinforce our maritime security.


“We find it very important because piracy has been in the increase and the issue of oil theft and several other criminalities in our waterways has been there for a while. Government is desirous of addressing this by equipping our security forces, particularly to guard our waterways to bring down the level of criminalities and all those who ply our coasts should feel secured,” Maku concluded.


Illegal bunkering and refining and oil theft are other major challenges facing Nigeria, particularly in the delta region. According to the Nigerian Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), crude oil theft stands at around three million barrels per month – an improvement over the theft of nine million barrels per month as at January last year. This drop was due to the establishment of a special task force to combat the issue.


Piracy and maritime insecurity are also big issues in the delta region and off the Nigerian coast. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in its global piracy report for the first quarter of this year, warned that West Africa remained a worsening piracy hotspot, with Nigeria being a noteworthy flashpoint.


Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have increased in recent months as the area, spanning a dozen countries, is a growing source of oil, cocoa and metals being shipped to the world's markets. The IMB said there were ten attacks off Nigeria in the first quarter of this year.


"Nigerian piracy is increasing in incidence and extending in range," said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan. "While the number of reported incidents in Nigeria is still less than Somalia, and hijacked vessels are under control of the pirates for days rather than months, the level of violence against crew is dangerously high."


Meanwhile, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) recorded a total of 83 piracy and sea robbery attacks, including other unlawful acts at sea, in 2011.


Late last month the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim said that the vast area of Nigeria’s territorial waters and an inadequate number of ships was challenging the ability of the navy to patrol and secure the country’s maritime domain. “The ships we have are tired old warhorses that are dilapidated beyond economic repairs. This is due to serial negligence of national security institutions over the years. The House Committee on Navy is aware of the state of the Navy. In other climes, the Navy is supposed to take delivery of new ships almost every year.


“For the Nigerian Navy to be efficient, we must talk about recapitalisation. In simple terms, we need to change the face of the Navy by buying new and more vessels for our operations,” he said.


The Nigerian Navy and security forces are, however, re-equipping. On May 3 the Nigerian Marine Police took delivery of two Armacraft Croq 1270 patrol vessels from China while a month ago Kobus Naval Design (KND) received a contract to supply two 24 metre P249 patrol craft to the Nigerian Customs Service, which will use them to combat smuggling and piracy.


Nigeria’s 2012 Defence Budget Proposal makes provision for three Shaldag Mk III fast patrol craft, three 24 metre coastal patrol craft and six 17 metre Manta Mk II ASD littoral interceptors. The FY2011 defence budget approved the acquisition of two offshore patrol vessels, the refurbishment of six coastal patrol craft by TP Marine and the delivery of nine Manta Mk II ASD craft. The Suncraft Group is expected to construct the six Manta Mk II ASD vessels, bringing the total ordered over the last several years to 21. The Manta Mk II first entered service with the Nigerian Navy in 2008.


French shipbuilder OCEA is building the three 24 metre coastal patrol craft and commenced sea trials of the first vessel on March 13.


Nigeria’s Navy is seeking government approval to acquire up to 49 ships and 42 helicopters over the next ten years to police the nation’s territorial waterways and Gulf of Guinea.


Some of these vessels will be built locally. Jonathan on June 1 commissioned the NNS Andoni, Nigeria’s first locally built warship, and laid the keel for a second Seaward Defence Boat, which will be commissioned next year.


Jonathan recently approved the purchase of two new 1 800 t Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for the Nigerian Navy, which will use them mainly for maritime surveillance, patrol and response tasks. The contract for the two OPVs was signed on April 18 this year, with China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited, the trade arm of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). They will be delivered in around three years time and will be partly built in Nigeria.

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