The thorny problem of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has flared up since late 2018, with LNG carriers considered attractive targets by pirate gangs. The level of piracy in the region has fluctuated since it first emerged in 2008, but it has experienced more pirate attacks than anywhere else in the world since the Somali pirate problem was brought under control by massive international intervention. The attacks have highlighted the wider global problem of piracy against LNG tankers. [LNG Condensed Volume 2, Issue 6 – September/October 2020] – Subscribe to NGW Premium or NGW LNG Condensed (complimentary) to read this article.
As pirate attacks on LNG carriers, oil tankers and other vessels have become less common off Somalia and in the rest of the western Indian Ocean over the past decade, they have ramped up on the other side of the African continent, although the violence has attracted far less international attention, perhaps because it is not associated with a failed state.
The types of vessels targeted in the Gulf of Guinea have been somewhat different, with crude oil, oil product and LNG tankers very much at the fore. This has partly been because oil and gas carrying vessels comprise a far higher proportion of international shipping off the west coast of Africa than in the Indian Ocean. However, it also appears to be the result of links between militant activity and more general petrocrime in the Niger Delta and pirate attacks.
Most attacks have taken place in Nigerian waters because most pirate gangs seem to be based there and also because that is where oil and LNG tankers are sailing to and from. However, vessels have also been targeted along the rest of the West African coast, including off Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as further south, including in the international wate…
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