Friday, 11 November 2011
Growing rate of piracy in west africa
interest is in the cargo and not the vessel. The surge in pirate activities in the West African region is beginning to draw a lot of media attention. Just recently, the International Maritime Bureau-IMB- highlighted the risk of shipping to tema, Ghana and the Lagos and bonny areas of Nigeria. This has prompted international insurers to rank the coastline in the same risk category as Somalia. This is pernicious to a region already battling with drug smuggling, human trafficking and militant attacks. The obvious consequence is its damaging impact on security, trade and economic activities within the region and principal partners in Americas, Asia and Europe. Perhaps more worrisome is allegations that security agents in the region collaborate with the pirates to carry out their nefarious activities. Political instability in Nigeria and ivory coast, and a weak navy in Benin have provided an ample environment for pirates to carry out their activities uninhibited.
With massive reserves of natural resources, the gulf of guinea plays a pivotal role in international trade. There is an urgent need for countries in the region to take steps at securing their maritime borders and territories. One of such measures is the establishment of a regional navy. Though the french and the U.S navy are offering assistance, this is more of an action to protect their interests. African governments should be wary that these incidences of piracy would be used as a reference point in arguments supporting the establishment of a foreign military base in Africa.