A spate of pirate attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea has raised fears that the west coast of Africa may be becoming a new haven for piracy, even as the international community struggles to contain the pirate threat in Somalia. Underscoring this new pirate threat, on Monday two crewmen on a oil tanker were killed after their ship was boarded by pirates off Nigeria.
It was recently estimated that the total annual cost of Somali piracy was $7-10 billion. Maplecroft looks behind these troubling events to explain why piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region is increasing.
What’s changed in the last year?
- Attacks have increasingly spread across a broader region and further out to sea, although many incidents continue to occur near ports. Although it is difficult to identify a single cause of the upward trend in incidents, ongoing tensions related to the 2009 Niger Delta Amnesty and higher prices for oil on global markets over the past year are likely to be factors. Higher oil prices on the domestic market following a reduction in subsidies in January 2012 may also prove an added incentive to target oil cargoes. (more…)