Gulf of Guinea becoming bay of blood, says ITF

3 piracy incidents reported within 20 days in Singapore Strait


The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has condemned last week’s pirate attack in which a seafarer was killed and another 15 held hostage, calling on the Nigerian government and other West African leaders to take action and prevent more seafarers from being killed in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Liberia-flagged MV Mozart was attacked off the coast of Sao Tome when four armed pirates attacked the ship, killing one crew member and beating up tehe others.

Following the attack, Turkey’s authorities identified the slain man as Farman Ismayilov, an Azerbaijani engineer and only non-Turkish crew member on board.

ITF in a statement on Friday said the governments had failed to protect seafarers from armed pirates, arms dealers and drug smugglers.

According to the Seafarers’ Section Chair, David Heindel, “Governments must take immediate action to prevent more seafarers being murdered in the Gulf of Guinea,”

ITF Seafarers’ Section Coordinator Fabrizio Barcellona, described the Gulf of Guinea as becoming a ‘bay of blood’ stating that, “This severity of this latest attack must now drive robust action from government to protect seafarers and the movement of trade around West Africa. Governments need to make good on their commitments to deter pirates with a strong naval and coastguard presence. Without immediate action, more seafarers risk being shot and killed.”

The Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said that his government would be organising for the “rescue of kidnapped ship personnel”.

“We thank Turkey for their attempts to rescue the surviving crew but West African governments also must act to stop the deaths of more seafarers off their coastlines,” said Heindel

“Our hearts go out to Farman and his family. Authorities must act together to stop further raids on seafarers in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

Regional governments committed to better coordination of naval enforcement activities in Abuja, Nigeria in 2019, but the ITF has been outspoken on the growing danger for crew passing through the Gulf of Guinea.