Nigeria and the Inter Regional Coordination Centre Yaoundé has formed a forum aimed coordinating regional and international efforts to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, 135 maritime kidnappings were recorded in 2020, with 130 of them happening in the Gulf of Guinea alone.
The IMB also reported that the Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half (43 per cent) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021, raising concerns on how to tackle the crisis in the region.
Following meetings between the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Bashir Jamoh, and Executive Director of ICC Yaoundé, Admiral Narciso Fastudo Jr., the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum was formed.
A joint statement issued on Monday by NIMASA, the Nigerian Navy, and ICC Yaoundé, said GOG-MCF/SHADE, was aimed at facilitating shared awareness and the de-confliction of activities in the Gulf of Guinea, and ‘will be open to all GOG countries with similar capacities to join on a voluntary basis’.
The statement read, “GOG-MCF/SHADE will focus on counter-piracy and armed robbery by bringing together regional, international, industry and NGO partners to advance and coordinate near term maritime activities with a view to working toward a set of common operational objectives in order to protect seafarers and ships operating off the coast of West and Central Africa.”
Jamoh and Fastudo agreed to hold the first virtual meeting of GOG-MCF/SHADE as soon as practicable, with modalities to be announced later.