News / Africa

Experts Work to Beef Up Gulf of Guinea Security

Pirates seized Italian tanker "Anema e Core," carrying a cargo of diesel fuel, in the Gulf of Guinea off Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin in West Africa, undated file image.
Pirates seized Italian tanker "Anema e Core," carrying a cargo of diesel fuel, in the Gulf of Guinea off Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin in West Africa, undated file image.
Experts are working to beef up security in the Gulf of Guinea, through which an estimated 40 percent of Europe's oil imports and 29 percent of U.S.-bound petroleum products pass annually.
 
According to a report from the International Maritime Bureau, the gulf located off the central part of the West African coastline is becoming a new hot spot for piracy, with potential to eclipse the scale of high-seas crime seen off the Horn of Africa. Fifty-eight pirate attacks were recorded in the Gulf last year, including 10 hijackings. Nearly half of the attacks occurred off the coast of Nigeria, with others occurring off Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Benin and nearby countries.
 
In February 2012 alone, the report indicates, eight oil tankers were attacked.
 
But industrial petroleum vessels aren't the only targets. Ships carrying cocoa and metals destined for world markets have also come under attack. Pirates have killed Cameroon security officials, and the mayor of Kombo Abedimo, a locality in western Cameroon, was taken captive by pirates while en route to Nigeria.
 
“We were ambushed with three gunboats armed to the teeth with about 10 persons per boat," said Mayor Patrick Aboko by telephone. "And surprisingly there was [a] gun firing and some of us fell into water and we were picked up by pirates and taken to their camp. In fact we went through serious torture and the government intervened.”
 
With attacks mounting, the United Nations has appointed Abou Moussa as the special representative to Central Africa with a focus on reducing insecurity in the gulf. Also, West African security experts and defense ministers met this month in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, where they resolved against negotiating with pirates and they agreed to use any force necessary to eliminate threats.
 
General Carter Ham, former commander of the U.S. military's Africa Command, says regional cooperation is needed to meet growing challenges.
 
“There is lots of work to be done in the Gulf of Guinea. The president and the leaders in Cameroon understand that this is a responsibility not of one nation, but all the nations in the region," he said. "And so what we try to do is to find opportunities for the many nations to cooperate and coordinate their efforts, because we are convinced that when they will be able to do so, there will be security in the Gulf of Guinea and that is what we all desire.”
 
According to British security expert John Drick, proliferation of piracy in the Gulf has already led to a rise in oil prices.
 
"A repeat of instability and pirate attacks off the coast could again lead to a spike in prices and could cause concerns in the international market," he said, referring to attacks in Nigeria's Niger Delta that triggered a price increase.
 
While countries that border the Gulf of Guinea — Angola, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon — produce more than three million barrels of oil daily for North American and European markets, the Niger Delta region produces the bulk of it.
 
High crude prices and unrest in the region, particularly in Nigeria, create favorable conditions for piracy. Left unchecked, observers say piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has the potential to reach and surpass the number of attacks off the coast of Somalia in the past decade.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid