Denmark seeks agreements with Nigeria, others on anti-piracy mission


Pirates attack tanker off West Africa


Denmark’s government will negotiate agreements with Nigeria and other countries in West Africa following a decision to send a naval vessel to the Gulf of Guinea to aid the fight against piracy.

The defense ministry in Copenhagen said last week that it would deploy a war ship to patrol international waters in the Gulf of Guinea, which has assumed notoriety as the most dangerous shipping route for seafarers worldwide.

The deployment of the Denmark Navy frigate would be for an initial five months starting in November, according to official sources.

The warship will provide escorts to civilian shipping and carry out rescue operations following pirate attacks.

The government plans to “put forward a suggestion for a parliamentary decision regarding a military contribution for the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea” within several months, a defense ministry spokesman said by email.

It will also “seek to negotiate necessary agreements, including on possible transfer and prosecution of apprehended pirates, with relevant governments in the region,” he said.

The Gulf of Guinea, an expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Senegal to Angola, accounts for almost all maritime kidnappings in recent years. Of the 135 crew abducted at sea globally in 2020, 95% were taken in the region, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). Hostages are usually taken to Nigeria, where ransoms are arranged.

Copenhagen-based A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s biggest shipping company, and industry groups have been calling for a more assertive international response to kidnappings in the region.

The frigate’s mandate is expected to follow the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea’s “legal framework for the repression of piracy,” the defense ministry spokesman said. The treaty allows military vessels to conduct anti-piracy operations anywhere at sea except the territorial waters of individual states.