• Friday, September 29, 2023
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Nigeria, West African countries lose $1.9bn to piracy — UN

Nigeria, West African countries lose $1.9bn to piracy — UN

West African countries including Nigeria have been losing about $1.9 billion yearly to piracy in the Gulf of Guinean region, a new United Nations report, has said.

According to the report tagged ‘Pirates of the Gulf of Guinea: A Cost Analysis for the Coastal States,’ the surge of maritime piracy in Africa’s Gulf of Guinea is not just a threat to the foreign ship and cargo owners but also carries significant costs for the coastal nations.

It however stated that the Gulf of Guinea nations will gain most from reducing piracy and armed robbery in the region after considering the level of financial damages and opportunity costs of pirate attacks in the region.

The report further said that most of the direct costs of kidnappings and ship seizures by pirates are borne by foreigners as the sum of $5 million was paid last year for kidnappings of mostly non-African ship crew members.

But it also said that countries along the Gulf of Guinea coast will pay far more than that to deal with the rise in piracy, from expanded patrols to rescue missions and greater security costs in ports.

Read also: UK warship departs Nigeria, continues antipiracy exercise in Gulf of Guinea

The report, which was made together with the Stable Seas research group, estimated that those costs could be more than $1.9 billion annually.

On other forms of economic loss to piracy, the report stated that “The frequency and violence of these attacks have preoccupied West African Navies that could be addressing other maritime security threats, discouraged foreign investment, weakened state control of coastal and offshore areas, slowed the development of the blue economy, emboldened illicit traders and illegal fishers, and terrorised seafarer communities.”

Continuing, it said: “This has exacted a financial and human cost to the Gulf of Guinea states that, to this point, has been seen as secondary to the costs borne by multinational shipping companies and non-African entities.”

The report, which was released nearly two weeks after a Danish naval patrol killed four pirates in an exchange of fire off the coast of Nigeria, stated that the region popularly known as a hotspot for piracy saw 106 incidents in 2020 with 623 seafarers affected by kidnapping.

Anniken Huitfeldt, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, told officials at the United Nations that the number of attacks had recently declined, possibly due to an increase in international patrolling and the Nigerian deep blue project.

However, she said, “We have seen more brutal attacks where a larger number of seafarers have been kidnapped.”