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ITF calls for urgent action to tackle rising piracy in Gulf of Guinea

On the back of two piracy attacks on
vessels in Gulf of Guinea last week, the International Transport Workers’
Federation called for urgent global and regional cooperation to fight piracy in
the region.

The latest incidents occurred in
early November and involved the Norwegian-flagged MV Bonita and the
Greek-flagged Elka Aristotle.

Pirates kidnapped nine crew members
from MV Bonita while the vessel was at anchor off the coast of Benin in West
Africa, and two days later four crew members were taken hostage off the coast
of Togo from Elka Aristotle.

Several other abductions have been
reported in the Gulf of Guinea in recent months, including eight crew members
taken hostage off Cameroon in August, and 10 Turkish seafarers off the coast of
Nigeria in July.

“Piracy and armed robbery have been
long-standing problems in the Gulf, but in recent years, and months, the
frequency of attacks is increasing. Sixty-two seafarers have reportedly been
captured off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon this
year,” according to the ITF.

Therefore, the ITF seafarers’ section
chair, David Heindel, called on the shipping industry, governments and unions
to work collaboratively to eliminate piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

“The entire maritime industry
urgently needs to take action to improve prevention, reporting and response to
attacks across the Gulf,” Heindel noted.

“Coastal countries in the Gulf must
work with industry and unions to identify actions, and allocate adequate
resources, to reduce the risks posed to seafarers and shipping.

“While we acknowledge the difficult
international regulatory environment, we must continue to build capacity and
cooperation, and address the mounting human toll that these attacks are having
on lives and physical and mental health transiting through the waters of West
Africa,” Heindel concluded.
World Maritime News.

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