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International Maritime Bureau director Michael Howlett said this week that the number of kidnappings of sailors off the west coast of Africa increased by 50% last year, calling for increased cooperation against sea piracy.
“This region has seen an unprecedented increase in crew hijacking,” said Michael Howlett, who heads this Kuala Lumpur-based international maritime safety body.
In statements quoted by the French news agency France-Presse, the official called for “greater coordination and exchange of information”, stressing that this cooperation must take place both between the ships themselves and between the agencies responsible for registering and processing cases in the Gulf, from Guinea.
Crew abductions in the Gulf of Guinea, 121 in 2019, an increase of 55.1% from 78 in 2018, represent 75% of reported cases worldwide, he said, noting that last year these cases world-wide, fell from 201 in 2018 to 162 last year.
The Gulf of Guinea, which extends 5,700 km from the northern shores of Senegal to Angola and Nigeria – both oil producing countries – has in recent years become the new epicenter of global piracy off the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia, writes AFP, noting that this problem originated in the 1970s in the Niger Delta in southeastern Nigeria, the center of oil exploration in this country which is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer.
With the fall in oil prices, the strategy of these ‘sea pirates’ has changed, now favouring the abduction of crews and not theft of oil to be transported, according to AFP.
Source: express odasilhas