Everyone’s Business

For nearly a decade now, the sea lanes in the Gulf of Guinea, a strategic region through which the majority of Europe’s trade moves, has become the main theater of international piracy. Nowhere on earth do pirates strike more often than the Gulf of Guinea, where more than 130 sailors were taken hostage last year. Day-in, day-out, darring kidnappers create fear around the world especially in areas between southern and western Africa where valuable goods such as crude oil emanating from Angola and Nigeria are transported. Since 2014, the EU has contributed more than $66.7 million to the fight against piracy in security upgrades for harbors and programmes designed to improve cooperation between security forces in the region. A number of European navy vessels are already active in the region and these are to be networked in the future in order to communicate patrol responsibilities and exchange information on pirate activities. 
While the decision for navy vessels to rush and help other vessels under attack is often on national case-by-case basis, most experts believe, it is not a long term solution to the problem and are instead calling for more aid to neighboring States that lack almost everything it takes to fight the pirates, including, well-trained naval officers and functioning radar systems to monitor their waters. In cases where countries have the necessary equipment, putting into proper use is a big challenge due to lack of funds that can be used to buy items like fuel or equipment spare parts. Despite these hurdles, there is a glimmer of hope. Most countries in the region, cognizant of the fact that Gulf of Guinea piracy is a regional problem that requires an effective regional response, are already investing millions of dollars to improve surveillance systems, ships and airplanes. But an expanded presence on the water isn’t enough because acts of piracy can still be planned on land where most of the ...



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