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West African pirates want cargo

West African pirates want cargo
While the world?s militaries are busy waging battle against pirates off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, there are more violent seafaring criminals off the western coast of Africa, military experts say.

West African pirates want cargo, not ransom

While the world"s militaries are busy waging battle against pirates off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, there are more violent seafaring criminals off the western coast of Africa, military experts say. Unlike the eastern Africa pirates, who are mainly interested in taking hostages for lucrative ransom payments, the pirates plaguing western Africa waters are more interested in the ships" cargo.

In November, for example, pirates attacked an oil tanker off Benin, killing a civilian mariner as they stole from the ship"s safe.

?They"re going for the goods, not necessarily going for the ransom, and that"s because of the large amount of natural resources out there,? said U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Peter Flynt, a Naval Forces Africa West and Central Africa desk officer.

The primary natural resource being shipped is petroleum ? oil theft from Nigeria alone totals roughly $1 billion a year, said Phillip J. Heyl, chief of the Air and Maritime Security Branch of the Strategy, Plans and Programs Directorate of U.S. Africa Command. And more countries are producing petroleum for export, such as Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana and Cameroon, making them targets of thieves who steal from fuel storage sites, pipelines and anchored barges, Heyl said.

But with international navies already committed to disrupting piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Somali basin, there are few international forces left to sail the western waters, said British Cmdr. John Harbour, spokesman for the European Union Naval Force Somalia.

No military warships persistently patrol the west coasts, and international military and diplomatic officials must now add piracy to the list of other problems that threaten regional stability, such as drug smuggling, illegal fishing, human trafficking and illegal migration.

However, countries such as Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe and Equatorial Guinea are now patrolling and protecting their own shores as part of the U.S. Navy"s Africa Partnership Station ? which focuses on training and equipping West African navies.
Cameroon also has created a maritime team of its special rapid intervention battalion, which boards suspicious vessels, acts as a deterrent, or arrests suspected pirates, said U.S. Cmdr. Jon Carriglitto, Naval Forces Africa West and Central Africa Engagement team leader.

Unlike the eastern Africa pirates, who are mainly interested in taking hostages for lucrative ransom payments, the pirates plaguing western Africa waters are more interested in the ships" cargo.
In November, for example, pirates attacked an oil tanker off Benin, killing a civilian mariner as they stole from the ship"s safe.

?They"re going for the goods, not necessarily going for the ransom, and that"s because of the large amount of natural resources out there,? said U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Peter Flynt, a Naval Forces Africa West and Central Africa desk officer.

The primary natural resource being shipped is petroleum ? oil theft from Nigeria alone totals roughly $1 billion a year, said Phillip J. Heyl, chief of the Air and Maritime Security Branch of the Strategy, Plans and Programs Directorate of U.S. Africa Command. And more countries are producing petroleum for export, such as Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana and Cameroon, making them targets of thieves who steal from fuel storage sites, pipelines and anchored barges, Heyl said.

But with international navies already committed to disrupting piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Somali basin, there are few international forces left to sail the western waters, said British Cmdr. John Harbour, spokesman for the European Union Naval Force Somalia.

No military warships persistently patrol the west coasts, and international military and diplomatic officials must now add piracy to the list of other problems that threaten regional stability, such as drug smuggling, illegal fishing, human trafficking and illegal migration.

However, countries such as Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe and Equatorial Guinea are now patrolling and protecting their own shores as part of the U.S. Navy"s Africa Partnership Station ? which focuses on training and equipping West African navies.
Cameroon also has created a maritime team of its special rapid intervention battalion, which boards suspicious vessels, acts as a deterrent, or arrests suspected pirates, said U.S. Cmdr. Jon Carriglitto, Naval Forces Africa West and Central Africa Engagement team leader.

www.turkishmaritime.com.tr

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