Piracy off the coast of Nigeria and in the Gulf of Guinea is making headlines daily. Oil service boat crews kidnapped, tankers hijacked, sailors killed, and armed guards arrested for arms smuggling. It is not pretty, but it is not new either. Piracy has been big there for a while, only now is it making news. That’s how the press works, it focuses as a pack on one topic, to the exclusion of others.
The danger for seafarers is that with all eyes on West Africa the dangers of Somali piracy will be forgotten. So here is the news – they are still there and still active. The Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyte yesterday chased down nine suspected pirates in two skiffs operating 120 miles off the Somali coast. The pirates had time to dump their weapons as the frigate’s helicopter closed in but they are now all safely on board the warship and no threat to anyone. But ashore there are more hungry boys with guns and more greedy men with money ready to send them out hunting. It is not time to relax or relocate resources to other hot spots.