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Near-Term Mitigation of Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

The threat of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in the waters off West and Central Africa has loomed for decades. In 2013, the region came together to develop the Yaoundé Code of Conduct to facilitate improved information-sharing and cooperation among regional navies and law enforcement. The Yaoundé Architecture has resulted in progress against a multitude of maritime crimes, but as many of the recommended longer-term programs to build capacity in the region continue to mature, incidents of piracy and armed robbery remain persistently high.


Stable Seas supports a comprehensive and sustainable solution to maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, based on regionally-led strategies such as the Yaoundé Code of Conduct. However, in light of a recent uptick in kidnapping incidents in the Gulf of Guinea that put seafarers and fishers at great risk, Stable Seas commissioned a range of stakeholders, led by our Senior Advisor Jon Huggins, to discuss near-term actions that could provide relief from violent attacks in the Gulf of Guinea. The working group was bounded by two assumptions: 1.) any near-term efforts should not undermine the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and supporting Architecture, and 2.) the study would only consider employment of existing capabilities and systems, as opposed to long-term capacity building.


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The study identified cross-sector agreement on the threat level as a necessary precondition for success, in addition to reaching a common understanding of regional interpretations of maritime boundaries and their effect on international cooperation, private security schemes, and prosecution of detainees and a move from multilateral to multi-stakeholder cooperation, especially related to the conduct of the G7++ and/or Friends of the Gulf of Guinea fora.


This content was created when Stable Seas was a program of One Earth Future.