At the IMO’s 101st meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee, BIMCO’s Head of Maritime Security – Jakob P. Larsen – spoke in a direct fashion about the serious situation posed by piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and especially off the coast of Nigeria.
Larsen highlighted that attacks originate and are carried out from – primarily - a small area. The coastal state in question – Nigeria – can easily establish maritime domain awareness, if it shows the will to do it, he also said.
The full statement to the IMO can be read below:
“I want to thank IMO Secretariat and the member states who have given an account of the initiatives they have taken to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. That said, it is frustrating that while so much done – yet so little is achieved in terms of reduction of threat. It was this frustration that drove us to support the Indian proposal to establish a contact group. We felt that a change was needed, and it may be, that a revitalised G7++ FoGG with regional participation could deliver some of that change. We encourage all countries in the region to accept the invitation to join the G7++ FoGG meetings on 2 July in Brussels.
Much is said about the complexity of the problem caused by national interests like sovereignty and jurisdiction. But seen from the distance, in lack of a better word, it is ironic that such a problem is more difficult to resolve in an area where there are functional states interested in protecting their sovereignty so brutally challenged by the pirates.
We should also be careful not to overcomplicate the issue. The overwhelming majority of the most grave attacks (kidnap for ransom and hijack for cargo theft) takes place inside and originates from a small area 150 x 150 nm within the area of interest of the leading country in the region. It is an area where there is a unique possibility to establish MDA by utilising radar data from offshore installations. BIMCO would argue that this problem can be solved easily if the will and the spirit of cooperation is embraced.
On 4 June, BIMCO, ICS, IMCA, ITF and OCIMF held a symposium on piracy in Gulf of Guinea. It was very encouraging to hear that the leading country in the region intend to take the combating of piracy to a new level. The leading country in the region has a big responsibility to do all in their power, including strengthening own efforts and opening up for partnering with international navies, to combat this problem. The mentioned symposium left us with the hope that we are indeed entering a new era of combating piracy, but as with everything else, the proof is in the pudding.”