In a bid to aid the fight against rampant piracy, Denmark will send a naval vessel to West Africa following a call by A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and shipping industry groups for a more assertive international response to kidnappings that occur in the region.
The Danish government intends to deploy a frigate equipped with a helicopter to patrol international waters in the gulf from November for an initial period of five months. The vessel will combat piracy by providing escorts to civilian shipping and carrying out rescue operations following attacks, it said.
The waters in the area are the most dangerous for seafarers worldwide, accounting for almost all maritime abductions in recent years.
Kidnapping in the Gulf
In 2020, the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) received 195 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide, in comparison to 162 in 2019. The incidents included three hijacked vessels, 11 vessels fired upon, 20 attempted attacks, and 161 vessels boarded. The rise is attributed to an increase of piracy and armed robbery reported within the Gulf of Guinea as well as increased armed robbery activity in the Singapore Straits.
95% of the 135 seafarers seized worldwide in 2020 were kidnapped in the gulf– a vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Senegal to Angola, in 22 separate incidents, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
Hostages are usually taken to Nigeria, where ransoms are negotiated.
“If we are to get serious about managing security in the Gulf of Guinea, an international military presence is necessary,” Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen said, adding that “We are working for more countries to assume responsibility.”