Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Other Gulf

A Polish ship was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. With problems in governance ashore and the distance from major naval powers, this continues to be a problem despite the lack of publicity that Somali piracy generated.

This is a dangerous area to sail:

Five Polish sailors are being held by kidnappers after a cargo ship belonging to a Polish company was attacked off the Nigerian coast, an incident Poland says highlights the need to review safety procedures of vessels operating in the area. ...

The area where the kidnapping took place was not traditionally frequented by pirates Polish Maritime Minister Marek Grobarczyk said.

I thought the whole region was rather dangerous. Why would the specific area be a relatively safe area?

This article says that different agencies track the problem differently, which could account for thinking one place is safe:

This brief overview shows that depending on the source of information, the type of analysis, the depth of detail and the reporting requirements of the client, the interpretation of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea can differ significantly—with a potentially profound impact on the industry’s risk management posture and on stakeholders’ and policymakers’ reaction to the situation.

Indeed. While waters off of Benin and Togo are high risk, the region reaching down to Angola is under pirate threat, really.

And we lack persistent naval power in the region, which is far from the western Pacific or the Middle East where we focus naval power. Heck, we have little naval power committed to European waters these days.

Helping locals do a better job of policing pirates would be a good thing to do. Figuring out how to get out-of-area powers to help out, as was done off of Somalia, would help, too.