By Gokhan Kavak and Adam Abu Bashal
ABUJA (AA) – The abduction of 10 Turkish sailors off the Nigerian waters has once again highlighted, the security issues infesting the Gulf of Guinea, which stretches from Senegal to Angola.
The Ivory Coast-bound Turkish ship Paksoy-1, was attacked by pirates on Saturday, who have held 10 crew members, all Turkish nationals hostage, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday.
According to International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 73% of all kidnappings at sea, and 92% of hostage-takings, took place in the Gulf of Guinea, in the first half of 2019. Most of these crimes were committed off the coast of Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer.
The discovery of oil in the region in the 1990s, was a milestone for the Gulf of Guinea, to gain prominence in the global economy. But it also increased risk to the ships.
The IMB report has recorded 78 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships, in the first half of 2019. In 2018, as many as 156 such incidents were reported.
Of the 75 seafarers taken hostage or kidnapped for ransom worldwide, since the beginning of this year, 62 were captured in the Gulf of Guinea – off the coasts of Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, Nigeria and Togo.
The ship Paksoy-1, operated by Kadioglu Maritime had 18 crew members on board, at the time of attack. The pirates are suspected to be, from Nigeria's volatile delta region, according to a local official.
Turkey’s Accra ambassador Ozlem Ergun Ulueren, later told Anadolu Agency that the ship along with eight crew members had reached Ghana’s Tema Harbor on Monday afternoon.
*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz