Pirates Desert Malacca Straits for African Waters
It's not just in Somalian waters where long range cruisers must be concerned about piracy. Piracy has now become so rampant in Nigerian waters on the western coast of Africa that fishermen are not game to go fishing, and many have given up, saying that it is too dangerous to set out.
This will adversely affect cruisers who think to avoid the Somalian coastline by rounding Africa instead of taking the Red Sea route.
The International Marine Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre suggests that professional pirates have deserted Indonesian and Malaysian waters, which are heavily patrolled by a coalition of South East Asian States, for Africa, where the coastal waters are largely uncontrolled, and the pickings rich.
Now both the east and west coasts of Africa are piracy prone - .. .
Omoh Gabriel of Nigeria's Vanguard publication writes: “Nigeria’s coastal waters are proving increasingly perilous for mariners. Some 42 attacks on ships were reported in 2007 compared with 28 in 2004, according to the IMB. But the attacks are increasing by the day, so much so that trawler owners have abandoned their fishing trade.”
Any potential demise of the fishing industry puts another crisis is in the offing, that of fish which is the major source of protein for the poor. Oku eko, as they are popularly called, may be priced out of the reach of the ordinary Nigerian, as pirates have taken over the nation’s costal waters. It is not just in Nigeria but along the coasts of the African continent.
Data made available by the IMB show that pirates have shifted their base to Africa and Nigeria in particular. While in 2004, Indonesia had the highest pirates attack of 94, it dropped to 43 in 2007. Similarly, Malacca Strait which had 38 attacks in 2004, dropped considerably to just 7 attacks in 2007. Bangladesh which in 2004 experienced 17 attacks on its high sea, fell marginally to 15.
According to the IMB, Nigeria in 2004 had 28 pirate attacks. This rose to 42 in 2007 and it is still rising. Somalia which experienced two attacks in 2004 witnessed 31 attacks in 2007. While the total pirate attacks on ships globally was 329 in 2004, it dropped to 263 in 2007, the major part of the attacks being in Africa.