On 24 February, IADC joined the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy. A document produced by the Baltic and International Council’s (BIMCO) taskforce comprising stakeholders from across the maritime industry, this declaration brings attention to the growing concern for safety and security in the offshore and maritime environment.
Along with over 500 signatories, the IADC clearly recognizes the significant hazard that piracy activities pose in the Gulf of Guinea and has manifested a considerable risk for seafarers and offshore workers over the past decade. While overall numbers of pirate attacks are largely unchanged as of late, the violence, scope, and sophistication of the attacks on vessel and offshore assets has continued to increase. Bringing focus and attention to this issue is an imperative such that thwarting this persistent threat can markedly enhance the safety and commerce in this West African maritime region.
The group listed the reasons for their pronouncement:
- The human toll is unacceptably high for seafarer victims either directly affected by attacks, eg through kidnapping, psychological trauma, or death, as well as indirectly affected by periods of stress because of the constant threat.
- The attacks are preventable taking place in a relatively small area (less than one fifth the size of the area affected by Somali piracy in 2010). An active naval force with very few assets conducting effective law enforcement could deter and suppress piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
- Stakeholders in the region – including individual consumers, governments, and businesses – pay increased costs for shipments due to the increased cost of security for visiting merchant ships.
- Continued reliance on locally sourced commercial protection services that are under the control of the coastal States undermines incentives to carry out effective law enforcement and therefore is not a model that will genuinely repress the actions of the pirates in the region.
- The poor security situation impedes regional economic growth because it puts off investments in the ocean-based economy whereby a significant contribution to the regional economies is forfeited.