In the run-up to the upcoming African Union Maritime Summit in Lomé, Togo, the Oceans Beyond Piracy project convened a meeting of 35 maritime experts to discuss the current state of maritime piracy off the east and west coasts of Africa. The meeting included representatives from the maritime nations, the shipping industry, international organizations, and civil society groups.
The frank discussions focused on the coordination of international support to regional nations in four key areas to deter piracy: (1) Operational Response, (2) Rule of Law, (3) Vessel Self Defense and (4) International Support.
Gulf of Guinea:
The upturn in kidnapping for ransom incidents observed in the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 appears to have been reduced through a combination of increased patrols by the Nigerian Navy, increased use of contracted security
and a refocus of attacks away from piracy at sea and more towards inland infrastructure.
While the waters in the Gulf of Guinea remain dangerous, regional nations are increasingly able to respond to piracy attacks through operational coordination across the zones developed through the Yaoundé process. Recent examples of these successes include the Nigerian Navy’s armed response to pirate attacks on the MT Maximus in February and the Vectus Osprey in August of this year. International actors are supporting the regional states by coordinating Maritime Situational Awareness for merchant vessels through the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) framework.