BIMCO head of maritime security Jakob P Larsen has said that “there is no legitimate reason to turn a blind eye to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea” and has listed five ways in which the threat can be fought.
He noted that a textbook example of how to combat piracy emerged in 2009 when an international group was established, with the encouragement of the UN, to create a forum for dialogue to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Larsen said that the time had come to establish a similar type of working group in the Gulf of Guinea.
He said that, at the moment, “the pirates are in control … they are not being challenged in international waters and, as a result, have nearly total control of the sea. We have to change the risk/reward ratio. It has to be far less attractive to be a pirate in the Gulf of Guinea.”
He noted that “if the regional coastal states wanted to change their laws and prosecute pirates, they could do it. At the end of the day all you need is a country with a government and the political will, a functional judicial system, and a prison”.
He noted that imprisonment in the region under local laws would be preferable, but added that international law allowed for any country to carry out piracy trials.