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Gulf of Guinea Piracy Crisis: CSC Growing Frustration

The Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) expresses its growing frustration at the ineffectiveness of the international community to address the continuing piracy crisis in the Gulf of Guinea, with more ships being attacked and more seafarers being taken hostage for ransom, in spite of the comprehensive measures that ship operators have taken to defend their ships and crews.

Piracy and armed robbery is a persistent problem in the Gulf of Guinea, with attack levels having been sustained for over 20 years. 

Pirate modus operandi are affected by a number of seasonal and local factors, but recent incidents have seen a shift in methodology, with large numbers of seafarers being taken hostage for ransom in single incidents. We have seen severe criminality in the region putting at risk the safety and security of seafarers.

There is growing concern that the international community is not actively seeking to eliminate piracy in the region and is instead treating the current level of attacks against Shipping as somehow ‘tolerable’.  In effect, pirates are being given a message that their criminal activity carries very few risks in comparison to the millions of dollars that can be made from extorting ransom payments.  As a result, the number of pirates is growing, and there is real danger that, in the absence of a firm response, their methods of hijack and violent kidnapping will be successfully emulated by others elsewhere.   

 In view of the above, the Chamber calls on the Cyprus Government to take appropriate initiatives at both the United Nations and the European Union to draw on all available resources to address the problem. Every effort must be exercised to eliminate this unacceptable behavior and protect our crews.