Pirates Looting Cargoes With AK-47s Threaten African Oil

21. November, 2013 News No comments

Nigeria, Gabon, Ghana and other countries around the Gulf of Guinea, produce more than 3 million barrels of oil a day, or about one-third of Africa’s output, according to data compiled by BP Plc. The region’s crude, often so-called sweet grades that are refined into high-value motor fuels, is shipped to refiners in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea are also leading liquefied natural gas exporters.

This year, piracy has spread through the region from Nigeria, where theft from ships has long been common, and ships are being attacked further offshore, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Boardings or hijacks have been reported off Togo, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“They just pushed me into the cabin with the guns in my chest and they told me to stay silent,” Varma said in a phone interview from India. “They were threatening, they were showing the guns, pointing at us. They took everything — everything that we had — including clothes, toiletries, electronics.”

West African nations made some progress on fighting piracy after agreeing on a Code of Conduct to help protect trade and shipping, said Simon Bennett, a director at the International Chamber of Shipping, which represents companies controlling more than 80 percent of the world’s merchant tonnage. Last month, politicians agreed to develop coordination mechanisms in 2014, the United Nations Office for West Africa said.

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Photos: bartamaha.com, frontpagemag.com

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Iwona Deren

Currently working towards M. Sc. degree in Petroleum Engineering at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Poland.

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