UN chief, Nigerian president meet on fight against piracy in Gulf of Guinea

2011.7.15- armed guards.jpgUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday met with Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and the two discussed how to further strengthen the efforts to fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

“The secretary-general and the president discussed recent developments in Nigeria and the implementation of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the border dispute with Cameroon,” a UN spokesman said in a readout to the press here. “They also exchanged views on how best to enhance the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.”

In October 2011, the UN Security Council held an open debate on the piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, a region rich in energy and mineral resources, turning the world’s attention once again on the problem off the African coast.

Piracy is characterized by armed attacks on commercial cargo ships, taking hostages, undertaking organized crimes such as drug and human trafficking, thus posing a serious threat to the international peace and security.

The Gulf of Guinea is the northeast part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon and north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia, spanning a dozen of Central and West African countries with a growing source of oil, cocoa and metals to the world markets.

Pirate attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea are threatening one of the world’s emerging trade hubs and are likely to intensify unless the regional efforts are beefed up to fight pirates who enjoy natural hideouts along a craggy coastline.

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Source: China.org

Pirates release tanker hijacked off Togo

2011.5.12-antipiracy_frigate_400.jpgPirates have released a British-managed oil tanker, five days after hijacking it off Togo in the Gulf of Guinea, the International Maritime Bureau said Friday.

The loaded tanker with 17 crew and a technician on board was hijacked on Sunday about 20 nautical miles off the port of Lome in Togo, said Noel Choong, head of the IMB’s piracy reporting centre based in Malaysia.

Pirates released the Panama-flagged vessel, which was transporting gas oil, 90 nautical miles off Lagos in Nigeria Thursday, Choong said.

None of those on board were injured, Choong added. He could not immediately give further details.

But Choong warned authorities and ships plying the area to be vigilant.

“We urge authorities in the area to beef up patrols to stop this menace,” he told AFP. “The pirates in this area are violent… We are warning ships to stay vigilant and maintain strict anti-piracy watches.”

The Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa has seen 35 attacks, including several hijackings, kidnappings and killings, so far this year, Choong said.

Unlike in hijackings off the coast of Somalia on the opposite side of the continent, west African gangs usually target cargo, loading it onto other ships to sell on the black market.

Nigeria and nearby Benin launched joint patrols last year to address the problem.

Source: AFP