April 25, 2017
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Floating enemies
Pirates are increasingly getting assertive in Gulf of Guinea Since the global attention is turning towards Africa and its resource rich regions, the number of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean region and Gulf of Guinea could double next year if governments do not act to protect off-shore assets. There have been over 360 attacks on merchant shipping this year, and without action by West African governments this could rise to over 700 incidents in 2014. This could see an average of two attacks every day of the year. However, piracy threatens more than just oil and gas assets; criminal gangs at sea are responsible for drug trafficking, arms smuggling, dumping of toxic waste, illegal bunkering and illegal fishing. This is in addition to the problems caused by the profits from piracy that finance other criminal activity such as terrorism and human trafficking which have a significant human and financial cost. As stronger counter-piracy measures have developed in East Africa, criminal organizations have come to see coastal assets in West Africa as soft targets. The result is that waters in the Gulf of Guinea are now the most dangerous in Africa for merchant shipping. West African nations are rapidly developing their oil and gas infrastructure to capitalize on existing assets and exploit new offshore discoveries. These assets can serve as the driver of long-term economic development in these countries, boosting industry, creating thousands of jobs and
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