Atlantic tuna vessels on ‘moderate’ alert following recent Ghana pirate attack

A pirate attack in Ghanaian waters in March was a source of “moderate” concern for tuna fishing firms active in the Atlantic Ocean, even though the situation is not as alarming as the Indian Ocean pirate emergency a few years ago, reports Undercurrent News.

“We received detailed information from the [Spanish] navy’s operations and surveillance centre of maritime action on the situation in the Gulf of Guinea,” said Borja Alonso, director of legal affairs and sustainability at Albacora, adding that “it is true that there is an increase in piratical activity more related to what some call ‘armed robbery at sea’, sometimes linked to attacks in anchorages, or fuel theft. But we understand that, although we follow these events with concern — the kidnapping that happened in March could have affected anyone”.

In March Nigerian pirates kidnapped five crew members from fishing vessel Marine 711, including three Korean officers and one Greek national. After the attack 14 local tuna fishing companies temporarily halted their operations in Ghanaian waters for fear of pirate attacks, pending “positive assurance from the Ghana navy that the vessels and their crew will be safe at sea”.

Pirate attacks and kidnappings in Nigeria’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea caused freight costs to rise in the area by a factor of six. There were 36 incidents reported during the first four months of 2018, up from 17 during the same period in 2017.