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Business News of Friday, 26 March 2021

Source: business24.com.gh

Business24 Editorial: Piracy remains troublesome

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the Gulf of Guinea remains a hot spot for piracy, accounting for the vast majority of sea-going hostage seizures and kidnappings globally.

As per IMB’s report, crew kidnapping in the region accounted for 95% of the world’s crew kidnappings.

The Executive Director of Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa and a former Ghanaian naval officer, Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali, explained that, while the West African attacks were initially concentrated offshore Nigeria, they have since spread to waters off Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Togo and Cameroon”.

According to the maritime security expert, there are many players now involved in mass kidnappings, which calls for swift intervention from Gulf of Guinea states to stem the menace and reposition the gulf as a safe haven for international trade.

Already, the attacks have prompted insurers to hike rates for ships transiting in the region and adding extra clauses for protection.

Shipping giants like Maersk which controls 15% of global freight have equally expressed concern about the rising cost and high insurance for vessels transiting in West Africa.

According to Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali, the rate of piracy and crime could make the region insecure for ships, which could increase the cost of freight to shippers.

“Aside putting lives at risk, increased piracy in the Gulf region also means cost of international trade in the sub-region would continue to soar to unbearable levels. Not only will insurance on ship increase but also insurance on crew, and that will mean higher freight charges that will have to be recovered on imports,” he said.

This paper believes that whatever the cause of piracy, there is the need for a combined and common approach across nations to make the shipping lanes safe for commerce and crews.

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