Pirates attack German container ship off West African coast

Maritime piracy has increased off the west coast of Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea, despite preventative measures. The issues lie on land rather than at sea. Is it time for the international community to intervene?

Nigerian special forces training to intercept pirates in the Gulf of Guinea

A vessel operated by Hamburg-based Bernhard Schulte Ship management was attacked by two speedboats in the Gulf of Guinea on Friday.

The Maersk Tema was attacked by two speedboats off the Nigerian coast, a spokesman for Peter Doehle Schiffart and Bernhard Schulte said. The crew followed emergency procedures, but the spokesman did not say whether the pirates had boarded the ship.

The Maersk Group in Copenhagen, Denmark, said that despite the name, it was not one of their ships.

Who will help solve Africa’s piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea?

Nine out of 10 maritime incidents of piracy and kidnappings for ransom are reported in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, which stretches 5,700 kilometres (3,500 miles) from Senegal to Angola.

As the number of crew members kidnapped by pirates worldwide decreased, the number reported in the Gulf of Guinea increased from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019.

From January to September last year, 82% of maritime kidnappings in the world occurred in the Gulf of Guinea, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). 

The vast expanse has eclipsed the notorious waters off Somalia in the Horn of Africa to become the world’s epicentre for pirate attacks, lootings and kidnappings.

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