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Piracy is thriving off the coast of West Africa despite COVID nearly crushing global marine traffic by KATHERINE DUNN AND JEREMY KAHN November 24,2020   |  Source: Fortune

This August, the final captives held hostage by Somali pirates were finally released after an excruciatingly long captivity.

The stretch of coast off East Africa where the captives were taken in 2015 was once famous for its speedboat hijackings. And then, suddenly, it went quiet. There haven't been any recorded attacks in the region since 2018.

But that doesn't mean piracy has disappeared. The locus of piracy has simply shifted—to the West.

Since the beginning of November, at least eight vessels have been attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, a major region for maritime trade that borders Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and other major West African economies.

It's just the latest in a bumper year of piracy for the region, reversing what had been a decline in global piracy. Last year, piracy and attempted piracy was at its lowest level in 25 years. Now, at least in West Africa, attacks are increasing—even as the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed marine traffic; the UN estimating that port calls were down 8.5% year on year in the first half of the year (traffic now appears to be recovering.)

From January to September, 132 attacks were reported in the Gulf of Guinea alone, according to a report by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre released in October. In that period, the

 

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Theme(s): Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods.

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