The UN Security Council has voiced concern over increasing maritime piracy, armed robbery and reports of hostage-taking in the Gulf of Guinea, saying the crimes were having an adverse impact on security, trade and other economic activities in the sub-region.The Council took note of efforts by countries in the Gulf of Guinea to tackle the problem, including joint coastline patrols by Nigeria and Benin and plans to convene a summit of Gulf of Guinea heads of State to discuss a regional response.
“In this context, members of the Council underlined the need for regional coordination and leadership in developing a comprehensive strategy to address this threat,” said a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri of India, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month.
The Council urged the international community to support countries in the region, as well as the regional organizations – the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) ¬¬– and other relevant bodies, in securing international navigation along the Gulf of Guinea, including through information exchange, improved coordination and capacity building.
The Council took note of the intention by the Secretary-General to send a UN assessment mission to look into the situation in the region and explore possible options for UN support.
Members of the Council also stressed the need for the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the UN Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) to work, within their current mandates, with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), as well as with all concerned countries and regional organizations.