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UN to beef up, or beef from, Gulf of Guinea piracy

June 3, 2013 at 02:54 by Mikhail Voytenko in Maritime Security

The Maritime Executive published on May an article “Piracy May Be Getting Worse, Not Better” (http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/Piracy-May-Be-Getting-Worse-Not-Better-2013-05-31/ ) written by Tom Thompson, an analyst at the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD). Author analyzes present situation in Gulf of Guinea, and generally, is saying same things I already said in my article “New type of Nigerian pirates emerged, more dangerous than any other we know”, published on May 19 http://www.news.odin.tc/index.php?page=view/article/424/New-type-of-Nigerian-pirates-emerged-more-dangerous-than-any-other-we-know

There are some differences like for example, description of the tools pirates use for breaking in citadels. I wrote about powerful cutters, he mentioned drills. Well, I guess, they use both. Or the target the new breed of Nigerian pirates is after. Mr. Thomson suggests they are hunting tankers to steal oil cargoes, I assume they added another item in their “most wanted” list – containerized cargoes of high value.

What’s more important, is the way Nigerian piracy is to be tackled, as Mr. Thompson sees it. Of course he mentioned seemingly unsolvable problems encountering foreign security agencies, so he thinks, that:

“Pirate attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea are threatening one of the world’s fast-growing strategic hubs. They are likely to intensify unless the region’s weak naval and coast guard defenses are beefed up soon”.

That’s the most important part of the whole article, taking into consideration the edition which published it – The Maritime Executive Magazine. The Magazine sticks to respectable ways of dealing with shipping problems, meaning there are no ways except those blessed, or initiated, by international maritime organizations, IMO, and in the end of the line, the UN.

There were already a number of articles in major and local media, backed by UN statements, devoted to the tackling of the Gulf of Guinea piracy. As expected, they say that the piracy should be handled by “eliminating the roots”, which are buried on the coastlines of the Gulf of Guinea States. In general, that “eliminating the roots” policy is the good old policy the UN tested on Somalia, wasting dozens of millions of dollars.

We all know, with all due respect to the political correctness, that most of the African States, be they as poor as Somalia, or as rich with oil money, as Nigeria, can’t “beef up” anything except criminality and corruption. If they’re asked to beef up their security, to tackle piracy, to make their ferries safer, to curb corruption or tune down racism, and so on, they immediately go to the UN and ask for international aid, much to the UN satisfaction, because that’s exactly what UN is after – international financial aid to handle this or that problem whether real or inflated, to be channeled via the UN and World Bank.

What we witness now, is a foreword of the UN intrusion. The UN invented the scheme to profit from the Gulf of Guinea piracy – the coastal States should be aided by financing the beefing up of their naval and coast guard forces, and of course, by financing special programs called to eliminate the roots. The UN with the bunch of the “think-tanks’ on its’ payroll can work out any program or any “road map” to tackle any problem, existing or imagined, providing there will be funds allocated by the international community – by us ordinary tax payers, in other words. If that’s the case with Gulf of Guinea piracy (as I am sure it is), if the UN is coming into the play, then, the Gulf of Guinea piracy has many prosperous years laying ahead.

The UN has a strong factor in its favor, in an attempt to make a gold mine out of Gulf of Guinea piracy. This strong factor is the legitimacy of private security, as seen by coastal States. As we already know, and as Mr. Thompson once again confirmed, coastal States, especially Nigeria, are strongly against any foreign intervention in any form, either international military forces or private armed guards. The UN failed in Indian ocean with its’ “eliminating the roots” policy due to one simple fact – all the piracy was taking place in international waters, with no one to stop the use of armed private guards. Shipping couldn’t care less for the UN “eliminating the roots” crap, and protected itself from pirates by massively hiring armed guards, however hard the UN was resisting the use of armed guards.

The situation in Gulf of Guinea is diametrically different – it’s almost impossible for foreign securities to provide armed protection, after they were declared by Nigeria as illegal. I won’t be surprised if Nigerian Navy would become openly hostile to any vessel with armed guards on board even outside Nigerian waters, by harassing or arresting them.

Interests of the UN and coastal States, first of all Nigeria, coincide one hundred percent. Nigeria wants to grab all the money security market is promising. The UN wants to get as much funds as possible, for as long time as possible, to “eliminate the roots”, and the main obstacle to the UN’s aspirations is the shipping itself, which wants protection from piracy, not some roots somewhere, to be eliminated sometime in a very far-off future. As long as Nigeria will resist foreign security, the UN will have its funds, so the scheme seems to be just flawless.

Voytenko Mikhail

June 2 13 

UN to beef up, or beef from, Gulf of Guinea piracy

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