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Combating piracy in West Africa

17.10.2016  17:49

Denmark is increasing its anti-piracy efforts in West Africa. The government contributes DKK 13.3 million towards a new EU programme focused on improving security in the Gulf of Guinea, where there are big problems with piracy. The government will deploy a maritime advisor with a military background to the region.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Kristian Jensen explains:

”It is very important for economic development in West Africa that we help to improve security at sea and support the individual countries ability to prosecute pirates. This is also very much in our own interest, as a great deal of West Africa’s trade is transported on Danish ships, and Danish businesses have invested billions in port facilities in the region. Combating piracy, the countries’ economic development and Danish interests are thus closely connected.”

Besides the support for the maritime security programme, the Danish government has also opted to deploy a military maritime advisor to Nigeria.

The Minister of Defence Peter Christensen states in this connection:

”It is important that we in Denmark assist in combating piracy and other criminal acts at sea in the Gulf of Guinea, for the benefit of everyone involved – and this applies in particular to Danish authorities and Danish ships. By deploying a maritime advisor from the Royal Danish Armed Forces, we are now adding an extra dimension to the broad-based Danish efforts in West Africa”.

Among the tasks assigned to the Danish advisor will be to advise about maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, assist in building local and regional capacity to counter the threat from piracy and armed robbery at sea, and to foster the contact between Denmark and the Nigerian defence forces. The advisor will be posted to the Danish Embassy in Abuja, and is expected to be deployed at the beginning of 2017.

Director General of the Danish Ship Owners’ Association Anne H. Steffensen states:

”It is very positive that Denmark puts words into action with these two initiatives. It is crucial for shipping that the countries in West Africa strengthen their cooperation and efforts in the fight against piracy and crimes at sea. We are also looking forward to collaborating with the new military maritime advisor in Nigeria, who we hope can help to increase focus on the security challenges Danish ship owners face.”

The strengthened Danish efforts are the realisation of Denmark’s strategy against piracy and armed robbery at sea 2015-2018, which has the Gulf of Guinea as one of its priorities. The strategy can be found here.

Background:
Last week, the African Union held an extraordinary summit about maritime security and development hosted by the West African country Togo. The purpose of the summit is to ensure that blue economy can be a central contributor in terms of Africa’s economic and social development. It is on this occasion that the new EU programme GoGIN, which totals 9.3 million Euro, was launched. Denmark is co-financing the program with earmarked priorities within the regional maritime coordination centres, support to the countries’ legal rules and systems and their opportunities to prosecute pirates.

For further information, contact:

Poul Kjar, press advisor for Kristian Jensen, tel: +45 41865975
The Danish Ministry of Defence’s press advisor on duty: +45 2323 6500