Steadily increasing support for the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy, combined with Nigeria announcing significant investment to address the ongoing piracy issue in the Gulf of Guinea, raises hope that efforts are on the right track to end piracy in the region and increase safety for seafarers.
The world’s three biggest flag states, many of the world's biggest shipowner companies, major shipping associations, regional companies from Ukraine to Nigeria and the World Economic Forum have now joined the support for the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy.
The declaration was drafted on 17 May by a group of shipowners convened by BIMCO with the aim to speak plainly about the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea and get all the stakeholders involved to address the real problems with effective solutions to protect seafarers.
“As we watch the number of signatures to the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy grow, so does our hope that seafarers can look forward to no longer fearing for their lives when doing their job,” says BIMCO’s Secretary General & CEO, David Loosley.
World Economic Forum: “Keeping people safe whilst keeping goods moving is an obligation”
Now, signatures are approaching 350 - currently counting 342. The World Economic Forum is one of the organisations that has signed the declaration, stressing the obligation for leaders to keep people and goods moving safely.
“Supply system resilience is directly impacted by maritime activities with seafarers playing a vital role enabling global trade. Collaboration across the private and public sector is imperative for assuring the safety, well-being and human rights of those responsible for moving the essential goods and food we all rely on,” says Margi Van Gogh, World Economic Forum, Head of Supply Chain & Transport.
“Keeping people and goods moving safely is an obligation for leaders across the value chain and requires governments and the private sector to act decisively to protect seafarers. The Forum applauds all collective action to protect the safety, and assure the wellbeing of our seafarers, and indeed all essential transport workers serving us across the globe,” Van Gogh adds.
MSC and Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry: Piracy problem must be recognised
Global container shipping group, MSC and The Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry are also among those supporting the declaration and its purpose.
“Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea affects seafarers of many nationalities and companies from all over the world. Robust involvement in counter piracy and associated law enforcement by international maritime forces, working side by side with local forces, is essential to addressing this situation. Only through international cooperation can we create the necessary deterrent against pirate operations at sea, both near and far from the camps in the Niger Delta,” says Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy and Government Affairs, MSC.
“By signing the declaration, we all say out loud that there continues to be a serious problem and that we must see an end to these crimes,” Darr adds.
In 2020, 135 crew were kidnapped from their ships globally, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for over 95% of the crew numbers kidnapped. The signatories of the declaration firmly believe that by the end of 2023 the number of attacks by pirates can be reduced by at least 80%.
”This declaration is a much needed input to the discussion about Gulf of Guinea piracy. We need to be frank and open about the problems. If we fail to take into consideration all relevant factors, we will end up reaching the wrong conclusions about how to address these problems. I encourage all other flag states to follow Liberia and the industry on this initiative,” Alfonso Castillero, Chief Operating Officer at The Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry says.
UN report highlights need for action
In addition to the increase in support of the declaration, the Round Table of international shipping associations and The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) have expressed their full support for the launch of Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project and the country’s announcement on 10 June of significant investment in military and law enforcement infrastructure to secure its maritime domain.
The piracy problem was confirmed in a report published on 9 June by the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC). The UN report on Niger Delta Pirates explains in excruciating detail why it is essential that the actions of the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy are implemented. The report is also a clear testament to the importance of shipping industry stakeholders coming together to change the unacceptable situation.
BIMCO strongly encourages shipping companies and other stakeholders to join the biggest flag states and some of the biggest shipowners in the world in the steadily growing call for change in the Gulf of Guinea by becoming a signatory to the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy
. To sign the declaration follow the link here