Pirates of Gulf of Guinea Paid $400,000 Ransom



Peace at last but with a price tag attached?

Peace has finally been brought about in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea.  Kidnapping for ransom is a major threat here.  The practice is prevalent mainly in the oil-producing areas off Nigeria’s coast.  The sudden spurt in kidnapping can be ascribed to the following causes:

  • Political developments in Nigeria
  • Sharp drop in oil theft due  to improved patrolling of Nigeria’s waters
  • Fall in oil prices making it less profitable to steal oil

The daring pirates thus decided to abduct seafarers.

Over the years

An oil super tanker was attacked in February 2015.  The tanker’s abducted crew was freed after the $400,000 ransom was paid says a popular maritime report, although it doesn’t say who paid this ransom.

The Somalia-based piracy that grabbed the world’s attention in 2012 has been halted in its tracks, largely due to the presence of armed escorts aboard merchant vessels that has completely disrupted the pirates’ business model.  In south-east Asia increased co-operation between states has seen piracy attacks fall off steeply in the last half of 2015.  But the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a nightmare for seafarers with violence deliberately directed against sailors, including mock executions.

Cause for unrest in West Africa’s coastal waters

A high degree of international co-ordination and naval patrolling make the neighboring waters relatively safe.  Yet the Gulf of Guinea still continues to be a hazardous place for seafarers. Armed pirates board the vessels forcibly and intimidate the crew, and then proceed to isolate the ranking officers and engineers, who net the highest ransoms.  In most cases, victims were held on small islands in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region says a popular report.

Depending on the cargo and time factor, the pirates loot the vessel as well before decamping with three or four crew members who will be held onshore during negotiations.  According to reliable reports, the pirate gangs responsible for these attacks are likely the same groups responsible for kidnapping and violence in the Niger Delta.

The official sources claim that the amnesty given to tens of thousands of oil militants had stemmed the level of violence in the region.  However some popular persons who had held a sway in the country formerly are still on the run.  A permanent solution to this threat can be reached only when all parties involved actively come together.

BBC Credit Link


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