CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDYThe Gulf of Guinea is made up of the maritime areas of the western parts of the African continent, and harbouring the Atlantic coastlines of 11 west and central African countries. The countries include Senegal, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Angola, Congo, among others.The Gulf of Guinea sub-regional oil fields are undisputedly attractive to oil companies because they deliver higher profits per barrel than from most other parts of the world. Similarly, the sub-region has proven reserves of 46 billion barrels, and with extensive exploration and exploitation efforts underway, this is expected to hit 100 billion barrels by the year 2010. Oil industry experts predict that by 2022, the industry will have invested more than $40 billion in the sub-region. Furthermore, according to the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate Report, oil supply levels from the sub-region to the United States are expected to grow from the current 16 percent of U.S. oil imports to 25 percent by the year 2015. Adding that, the natural gas production potential of the Gulf of Guinea sub-region is another reason for increased interest of the world‟s major energy consumers.In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of attacks on oil vessels by pirates, in particular in the Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin and the Indian Ocean and recently the Gulf of Guinea. Vast areas of waters are affected making it a great challenge to prevent maritime piracy incidents.Maritime piracy affects major shipping lanes, and puts at risk the lives of seafarers and merchant seamen from all over the world, of who largenumbers amounting to hundreds are taken captive each year.Millions of dollars in ransom payments are paid to pirates. It is believed that these payments are divided between the pirates, their leaders and those who finance them. Intelligence agencies indicate that part of the money is reinvested abroad through Somali emigrants.
Tracing the financial flows of ransom money is one of the main challenges faced by law enforcement agencies.Over decades off the western coast of Africa just north of the equator, the gulf of guinea has suffered and endured the terror of maritime piracy around its borders and waters.There were 439 worldwide piracy attacks in 2011, more than half of which were attributed to Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and off the coast of Oman. Other piracy hotspots for 2011 included the coast off Nigeria and Benin in West Africa, and Southeast Asia, near Indonesia.In the case of Somalia, analysts say one of the largest drivers of piracy is the lack of an efficient governing authority in the country. The Gulf of Guinea is vast, nearly equal to the Gulf of Mexico, and the shipping lifeline for a dozen nations, ranging from tiny São Tomé and Príncipé to the continent’s most populous, Nigeria, and geographically second largest, the Democratic Republic of Congo. As the primary access route to and from major oil-producing countries Angola and Nigeria, it is critical to international shipping, and its already dense tanker traffic will only increase due to recent discoveries of offshore oil in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Liberia. (www.google.compircay hotspot.org, accessed November 11th 2014)The U.S. first grasped the strategic value of the Gulf of Guinea in the early 2000s, when, as part of a new African oil policy, the Bush administration boosted naval forces there to protect the investment of its oil companies. As piracy began to rise, Washington and its international partners launched maritime security cooperation programs that provide ships and equipment to African navies
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMPiracy off West Africa has been driven much more by political and social grievances. In the Gulf of Guinea, many hijackings target oil tankers, with pirates seizing the oil and then selling it for a profit on the black market Peter Chalk, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation, told CFR.org. Chalk says there is evidence that Nigeria’s rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)–which has pressured the Abuja government to more equitably allocate oil revenues–has been involved in attacks on oil tankers off the coast Piracy in the gulf of guinea affects a number of countries in West Africa as well as the wider international community. By 2011, it had become an issue of global concern.Pirates in the gulf of guinea are often part of heavily armed criminal enterprises, who employ violent methods to steal oil cargo. In 2012, the international maritime bureau (IMB), Oceans Beyond Piracy(OBF) and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program(MPHRP) reported that the number of vessels attacks by West African pirates had reached a world high, with 966 seafarers attacked during the year.Bunkering: oil is stolen directly from pipelines, artisanal refined, and sold in local and international marketsKidnapping: employees of oil firms are subjected to kidnapping by pirates for ransom.Extortion: major oil companies pay protection fees to communities and security companies to ensure pipelines are not sabotaged.National embezzlement: enormous subsidy fraud has recently been uncovered by the Nigerian parliamentSmuggling: Subsidized fuel is smuggled across borders to markets where it is worth three times as much, at a direct cost to the Nigerian peopleTracing the financial flows of ransom money is one of the main challenges faced by law enforcement agencies.
OBJECTIVESThe sole aim of me picking this topic is educate various people what maritime piracy has done to west Africa as a whole, there have been so much lost of lives and properties, vandalizing pipelines, kidnap cases, even human trafficking.The specific objective areWhat are the role of maritime pirates in mitigating insecurity in the gulf of guineaTo examine the impact of maritime pirate and insecurity on the development of gulf of guinea.
To evaluate the efforts of tackling maritime piracy and insecurity in the gulf of guineaWhat are the prospects of sustainable peace and security through awareness of maritime piracy in gulf of guineaTo investigate ways of enhancing the capabilities to manage maritime piracy and insecurity in the gulf of guineaBelow is the rate of piracy in the gulf of guinea over the past years: