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West African Piracy: Are Misconceptions Encouraging Complacency?

The misconception that piracy in West Africa is limited to Nigeria and Cameroon has potentially severe consequences.



Reports indicate that some ship operators may not take the appropriate security measures because they think there is no risk in other countries. This can put the lives of seafarers at risk and result in significant financial losses for companies.


In the past 12 months, Ghana has experienced the highest number of piracy incidents in West Africa

In the past 12 months, Ghana has experienced the highest number of piracy incidents in West Africa, with seven reported attacks. Pirates in Ghana have been increasingly bold, targeting vessels at anchor or close to shore. The presence of oil rigs and platforms off the Ghanaian coast has made the area a target for piracy. Despite this, some ship operators may believe that Ghana is a relatively safe country for shipping and do not take appropriate security measures to protect their crew and vessels.

The number of reported attacks in each country between January 2022 and December 2022


There have been five reported attacks in Angola

Angola is another country that has experienced a high number of piracy incidents in the past 12 months, with five reported attacks. Pirates in Angola typically target vessels close to shore, often using violence and force to achieve their goals. In some cases, pirates have been known to board ships and steal cargo. However, there may be ship operators who believe that Angola is not a significant piracy risk and do not implement appropriate security measures.

Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast have also experienced piracy incidents in the past 12 months, with one and two reported incidents each. Pirates in Sierra Leone have been known to use violence and force to achieve their goals, while those in Ivory Coast often target vessels that are anchored or close to shore. Despite this, ship operators may underestimate the risk of piracy in these countries and not take appropriate measures to protect their crew and vessels.


Republic of Congo and Liberia has seen a slight increase in piracy incidents highlighting the need for continued vigilance


Other countries that have experienced piracy incidents in the past 12 months include Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, and Liberia, with one incident each. Whilst pirates in Nigeria have switched to oil bunkering, as reported by the UN and others.



This does not rule out the threat of violent piracy and robbery, which can be seen in the other areas of the Gulf of Guinea.



Meanwhile, the Republic of Congo and Liberia has seen a slight increase in piracy incidents, highlighting the need for continued vigilance.




It is important to address the misconception that piracy is limited to Nigeria and Cameroon, which can lead to complacency and inadequate security measures.

The prevalence of piracy in West Africa has led to concerns among ship operators and other stakeholders and taking steps to mitigate the risk is essential. These steps include improving maritime security, implementing security protocols, conducting thorough risk assessments, and increasing awareness and education about piracy in the region. However, it is equally important to address the misconception that piracy is limited to Nigeria and Cameroon, which can lead to complacency and inadequate security measures.






In conclusion, the misconception that piracy in West Africa is limited to Nigeria and Cameroon can have serious consequences. Ship operators who believe other countries in the region are relatively safe may not take appropriate security measures to protect their crew and vessels, putting them at risk of piracy attacks. By recognizing the real extent of the piracy threat in the region and taking appropriate security measures, it may be possible to reduce the risk of piracy and create a safer, more secure environment for all.


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Palaemon Maritime's mission is to protect every seafarer on every ship in every high-risk area. We know this is a big, ambitious goal, but we are already working with some big shippers who are just as passionate about crew safety as we are.







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