22 September 2011
DAKAR/LONDON Nigerian pirate gangs are moving into the waters of neighbouring countries and attacking vessels further offshore after being driven from their coastal haunts by a military crackdown.
The shift to deeper waters mirrors one by their better-known Somali counterparts after pressure from international warships and raises the threat to shipping in the
, which is rich in oil and minerals. Gulf of Guinea
Pirate attacks have spiked off the coast of
Benin this year while dropping in neighbouring Nigeria, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) watchdog, and attacks may also be on the rise in to the south. Cameroon
“While Somalis are not coming to
with franchise kits, Nigerians do have smartphones and so can surf the Web and keep an eye on what the Somalis and other pirates are doing and incorporate inspired changes,” said Michael Frodl with US-based consultancy C-LEVEL Maritime Risks. Nigeria
“All this represents a growing menace to shipping off
Nigeria, , and other West African nations.” Benin
“We believe that this is happening because the Nigerian navy and coastguard has clamped down heavily on piracy in their waters, forcing the pirates to move elsewhere,” said IMB manager Cyrus Mody.
A spokesman for
Nigeria’s military Joint Task Force confirmed that intensified patrols and intelligence operations had led to a drop in piracy in . Authorities had made 30 arrests in the past month, he said. Nigeria