Maritime mayhem

Increase in crew kidnappings and Niger Delta tension makes life difficult for shipping and the oil and gas sector.
By James Wilkes
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly the resurgence of violent marine kidnapping for ransom, will continue to plague the waters off of West Africa until local governments commit to ending corruption and building their nations.
Around the globe, piracy is in decline – but for merchant seafarers, the Gulf of Guinea, off West Africa, is a dangerous exception. Following a five-year period as the epicentre of hijacking for cargo theft, marine kidnapping for ransom is now the saveur du jour in the Gulf of Guinea – particularly in the Bight of Benin and Bight of Bonny. At least 44 seafarers were kidnapped for ransom in the first six months of 2016, most of them seized in Nigerian waters.
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