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Maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea

Maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea

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Published by Open Briefing
Intelligence brief from Open Briefing (United Kingdom, 19 March 2014).
Intelligence brief from Open Briefing (United Kingdom, 19 March 2014).

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Published by: Open Briefing on Mar 19, 2014
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Open Briefing |
1
 
Intelligence brief
| 19 March 2014
 Maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea Summary
1.
 
Maritime insecurity incorporates a range of criminal activities inclu!ing piracy smuggling an! illegal fishing. 2.
 
"he Gulf of Guinea has recently surpasse! the more infamous Gulf of #!en as the epicentre of maritime insecurity. $.
 
%t is
likely
that the &nite! States 'ill increase its naval presence in the Gulf of Guinea !uring 2014.
1
 4.
 
%t is
likely 
 that the (& 'ill also participate in an international intervention in the region though this coul!
possibly
)e stalle!. *.
 
%t is
likely 
 that the international community 'ill push +est #frican countries to legislate for the !eployment of arme! security guar!s on their vessels an! agree to greater inter,state colla)oration. -.
 
"he potential conflict of interests )et'een the international community an! shipping companies over arme! guar!s an!or e/ternal intervention 'ill
likely 
 force a consensus approach that 'ill
possibly
fail to a!!ress the root of the pro)lem. .
 
%t is
highly likely
that the a)ove moves 'ill lea! to a temporary increase in violence in the region. .
 
#s such maritime insecurity in the region is
likely 
 to increase throughout 2014 an! Benin "ogo an! Guinea,Bissau in particular are
likely
to 'itness an increase in criminal activities across their territorial 'aters.
Fig. 1.
Map of +est #frica an! the Gulf of Guinea. 3opyright  Google 2014.5
1
 
See http6'''.open)riefing.orgintelligenceunitintelligencemetho! for an e/planation of the 'or!s of estimative pro)a)ility use! )y Open Briefing.
 
Open Briefing |
2
 
# regional pro)lem 'ith glo)al implications
Maritime insecurity incorporates a range of criminal activities inclu!ing piracy smuggling an! illegal fishing. "he Gulf of Guinea off the south coast of +est #frica has recently surpasse! the more infamous Gulf of #!en off the coast of Somalia in (ast #frica as the epicentre of maritime insecurity. %t is estimate! that such insecurity costs regional economies 72 )illion annually.
2
 "he Gulf of Guinea is a strategic glo)al tra!e route through 'hich aroun! $0000 commercial vessels travel every year. "he area provi!es an economic lifeline to )oth coastal an! lan!,loc8e! countries in +est #frica 'hich use it to e/port their economic outputs such as minerals tim)er an! agricultural pro!uce. %t is an area through 'hich top #frican oil pro!ucers  such as :igeria #ngola an! (;uatorial Guinea  ship their cru!e on to international mar8ets. <urthermore the #tlantic coast of +est #frica from Senegal to #ngola is a centre of ne' !iscoveries of oil an! gas reserves ma8ing the region e/tremely attractive to international tra!e.
The Gulf of Guinea, off the south coast of West Africa, has recently surpassed the more infamous Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia in East Africa, as the epicentre of maritime insecurity.
=igh levels of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea have resulte! in increasing international insurance rates  :igeria an! Benin for e/ample are no' in the same ris8 category as Somalia  an! other tra!e,relate! costs 'hich in turn !ecreases marine traffic an! re!uces ta/ revenues. Benin in particular is a goo! e/ample6 ta/es on tra!e account for half of Benin>s government revenue 0? of 'hich come from the port of 3otonou 'hose activities contri)ute almost 0? of the country>s G@A. Overall a !ecrease in marine traffic )orne out of insecurity an! higher insurance costs resulte! in a 2? loss in Benin>s government revenue in 2012.
$
 "he Gulf of Guinea is also a hotspot for illegal tra!e particularly of !rugs an! small arms. @rug traffic8ing an! arms smuggling are le! )y militant groups from the coastal areas across to the Sahel creating greater insecurity in regions alrea!y highly vulnera)le to !esta)ilisation. "hese highly profita)le activities un!ermine !emocracy an! the rule of la' in countries 'here poverty is rampant an! the forces of la' an! or!er su)ect to corruption. Guinea Bissau is the )est e/ample of the !esta)ilising effect of !rug traffic8ing. %n this case complicity goes as far as the highest ran8s in the country>s government an! arme! forces.
 
"he impact of illegal fishing is often !isregar!e! an! un!erestimate! )ut it remains a critical element of maritime insecurity. %t is estimate! that nearly 40? of the fish caught in +est #frican 'aters is ta8en illegally. #lthough this provi!es millions of !ollars to (uropean an! #sian fishing fleets it affects people>s livelihoo!s )y !amaging the maritime environment an! un!ermining local fishing )usinesses that provi!e sustenance an! employment for a large s'athe of the region>s population.
2
 http6'''.!efencei;.comnaval,an!,maritime,!efencearticlespiracy,storm, )re's,in,'est,africa,gulf,of,guinea,u 
 
$
 http6'''.un.orgafricarene'almagaCine!ecem)er,201$piracy,'est,africa
 
Open Briefing |
3
 Maritime piracy costs the glo)al economy a)out 71 )illion a year accor!ing to the +orl! Ban8.
4
 "he +est is particularly e/pose!6 40? of (urope>s oil imports an! close to $0? of the &nite! States> transit the area each year. (uropean )usinesses are affecte! since 90? of the cost of implementing security an! of circumnavigating along alternative routes comes out of the shipping in!ustry>s )u!get.
*
 @isruption to tra!e in the region also results in higher prices for consumers.
Maritime piracy costs the global economy about $! billion a year according to the World "ank.
"he !rivers of maritime insecurity
Airacy off the Somali coast has its root causes in 'ea8 government control over the state a lac8 of legal economic opportunities an! the a)sence of the rule of la'. %n the a)sence of more sustaina)le alternatives international naval patrolling 'as steppe! up in or!er to tac8le the pro)lem. #s a result pirate attac8s !roppe! )y 0? )et'een 2010 an! 2012
-
 though this re;uire! a maor allocation of resources. %n +est #frica the !estruction of peoples> livelihoo!s unemployment 'i!esprea! corruption an! political an! social insta)ility also !rive people to search for alternative means of sustenance. #s such maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea has fertile groun! in +est #frican states upon 'hich to gro'. Most piracy attac8s in the region ta8e place in :igerian territorial 'aters. %t can )e argue! that maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea initially ha! its epicentre in the oil,rich :iger @elta. Dac8 of )enefits !erive! from oil profits !eteriorating livelihoo!s a culture of la'lessness an! collusion of state authorities 'ith criminal net'or8s translate! into criminal activities oil,theft in particular. Oil theft  'hether on lan! oil,)un8ering5 or at sea  is attractive )ecause of a )ooming )lac8 mar8et for fuel. %t is 'orth noting that the process of hiac8ing tan8ers syphoning off oil an! selling it on the )lac8 mar8et is costly an! re;uires high,;uality logistics 'hich in!icates that it is lin8e! to local elites.
Maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea has fertile ground in West African states upon #hich to gro#.
 %llicit tra!e is !riven )y insta)ility in +est #frica primarily in the Sahel. %nsurgent movements an! terrorist organisations such as al,Eae!a in the %slamic Maghre) #E%M5 rely on !rug traffic8ing an! arms smuggling to finance their activities an! operate in the region. %llegal fishing is attractive !ue to the ease of access to rich sources of fish mostly a result of lac8 of surveillance an! state control over territorial seas 'hich is !erive! not only from inefficient security resources )ut also from corrupt relationships )et'een navies or coast guar!s an! illegal fishing vessels.
4
 http6'''.'orl!)an8.orgenne'spress,release201$1101pirate,trails,trac8s,!irty,money,resulting,from,piracy,off,the,horn,of,africa
*
 http6'''.iss.europa.euuploa!sme!iaBriefF20.p!f
-
 
http6'''.)roo8ings.e!ume!iaHesearch<ilesHeports2014foresight?20africa?202014 
 
02?20foresight?20piracy?20somalia?20fel)a)?20)ro'n.p!f

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