New EU initiative to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
A new project which will boost security and the safety of maritime routes across seven African countries in the Gulf of Guinea was announced today by the European Union.
The Critical Maritime Routes in the Gulf of Guinea Programme (CRIMGO) will help governments across West and Central Africa to improve safety of the main shipping routes by providing training for coastguards and establishing a network to share information between countries and agencies across the region.
Announcing the project today, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said: "Without security, development can never properly reach the people it needs to. That's why our new project, which will help to boost transport security in Western Africa, is so crucial. By making the waters safe, we are helping to boost trade and growth and provide more opportunities to make a living, which these countries so desperately need."
The project will be rolled out from January 2013 in 7 African coastal states: Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Sâo Tomé and Principe and Togo.
The Gulf of Guinea currently accounts for 13% of oil and 6% of gas imports to the EU. However, piracy and armed robbery, as well as drug, arms and human trafficking, pose a real threat to the security of the region. In Nigeria alone, some 98 cases of piracy, armed robbery at sea and marine pollution were recorded between 2008 and 2012.
At present, the region suffers from a lack of coordination between coastguards, as well as between regions. There is also currently no common standard for maritime training, and weak conditions for information sharing between the countries involved.
The EU will provide €4.5 million for the CRIMGO project under its Instrument for Stability.