Kidnappings rose by 40% in the Gulf of Guinea, including Nigeria, in the first nine months of this year, and the region off West Africa’s coast now accounts for 95% of global maritime kidnappings, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Wednesday.
The bulk of the attackers come from Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
Eighty seafarers were taken in the Gulf of Guinea, a 2.3 million sqkm area bordering more than a dozen countries, sharply up from the same period in 2019, and the pirates are attacking further out to sea than before, the IMB said.
Pirates armed with guns and knives attack everything from oil platforms to fishing vessels and refrigerated cargo ships. In one attack 95 nautical miles off the coast, the furthest offshore attack reported in the region, pirates took 13 crew hostage, which the IMB said illustrated “how well-organized and far-reaching” the pirates are.