The Ghana Tuna Association is warning that rising pirate attacks on vessels in Ghana’s territorial waters is likely to ward off investors interested in tuna and deep-sea fishing in the country’s waters and beyond.
According to the ECOWAS Parliament, Ghana’s high seas are increasingly serving as an attractive destination for maritime pirates targeting commercial cargo and fishing vessels using the Gulf of Guinea.
Reports also indicate that from the beginning of last year till now, Ghana has recorded about 10 pirate attacks in its territorial waters.
Speaking to Citi Business News about the way forward, Secretary of the Ghana Tuna Association, Richster Nii Armah Amarfio, said they are looking forward to meeting with President Nana Akufo-Addo for the implementation of diplomatic solutions that bring in neighbouring countries to resolve the issue which is becoming prevalent in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We are hoping to meet the President after earlier arrangements to meet him failed. We have one major concern because we have reliable information that the Koreans, who engage in high-level fishing in our waters, are about promulgating a law barring their citizens from fishing in the Eastern part of Ghana to Benin, which they describe as a high-risk maritime zone within the Gulf of Guinea.”
“What it means is that we will have a lot of challenges, especially those of us engaged in tuna fishing. Because tuna fishers move towards the east for their anchovies and further fishing for tuna in those waters extending all the way to Benin. We, therefore, need to have some diplomatic intervention to deal with the emerging threat of legislating against anyone fishing in the high-risk zone,” he added.
Afenyo-Markin: Ghana turns up the heat on maritime piracy
Ghana’s high seas are increasingly serving as an attractive destination for maritime pirates targeting commercial cargo and fishing vessels using the Gulf of Guinea, the ECOWAS Parliament has been told.
Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, who leads Ghana’s delegation to the regional legislative body, told the House in Nigeria on Monday, May 31, 2021, that there have been six recorded pirate attacks on ships in Ghanaian waters in 2020 alone.
“Piracy is increasingly becoming an emerging threat to Ghana’s maritime security,” the 43-year-old Deputy Majority Leader in Ghana’s legislature told colleague Members of the ECOWAS Parliament sitting in Abuja.
The “Gulf of Guinea has become a hotspot for piracy in recent times,” he said, adding that relative to zero piracy cases in 2019, Ghana recorded six piracy cases in 2020.
Maritime Piracy – The Global Picture
Although piracy has long been a significant problem globally, it was only recently that Ghana’s high seas started to gain notoriety for the crime.
According to some figures, contemporary maritime piracy peaked in 2010, with around 445 reported incidents.
Figures covering 2020 show that while pirates attacked 162 ships in 2019, the number of ships attacked grew to 195 in 2020.
Half a dozen of those attacks took place along the coast of Ghana. As one report suggests, 135 crew members “were kidnapped from their vessels in 2020, compared to 134 in 2019, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for more than 95% of crew numbers kidnapped [globally].”
Also, Statista, a globally respected website that serves as a source of credible social and economic data, reports that the “regions most likely to come under threat from pirate attacks include Indonesia, Malaysia, and Nigeria.”
It is believed that “the abundance of natural resources in the countries themselves or adjacent areas” serves as pirates’ attractions. Thus, as Statista has found, “strategic passages for oil transport such as Bab-el-Mandeb, near Somalia, or the Strait of Malacca off the Indonesian coast have become notorious targets for maritime crime.”
In the context of Ghana, a nation that started commercial drilling and export of crude oil in 2010, it is unclear whether the increasing cases of pirate attacks can be linked to the riches of the oil industry.