West Africa Services

Maritime crime and piracy is endemic in the Gulf of Guinea and all types of vessel are at risk of being targeted by the criminals. The stimulus for this criminality has its origins in politics and local economics as well as organised crime networks. Consequently, the favoured type of crime – product theft, personnel kidnap and ransom, or armed robbery – will change according to the economic and political factors driving criminality at any particular given moment.

The governments in the region are fiercely independent and resistant to members of the international community, or private companies which are not registered locally contributing to the security framework. Consequently, at point of delivery security is provided by local companies employing mostly serving military personnel.

Note: Only serving military personnel may be armed.

Standing Threat Assessment

All vessels operating in the GoG should conduct a thorough risk assessment and practice emergency drills. Locally procured patrol boats can, in the right circumstances, enhance a vessel's security.

MAST recommends that vessels transiting the region register with MDAT-GoG to ensure domain awareness. Contact watchkeepers@mdat-gog.org or call +33(0)2 98 22 88 88.

MAST advises against the use of embarked armed Nigerian Navy personnel. Under contact from pirates, embarked armed Nigerian guards will draw increased fire towards the bridge of the vessel which can result in the death or injury of crew members and damage to the vessel. The Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) off Lagos provides effective protection for drifting and waiting vessels and the area has been piracy free for several months. It has also been reported that there is an unofficial, but operational SAA off the Bonny River. MAST can advise on risk assessments, the most effective countermeasures and on the most effective locally procured Nigerian patrol vessels to escort vessels to and from operation in Nigeria to 150nm offshore.