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ECSA demands 'immediate' EU action on West Africa piracy

ECSA demands 'immediate' EU action on West Africa piracy
The European Community of Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) has demanded “concrete EU action” against piracy in West Africa, as well as an extension of the EU NavFor Atlanta mandate.

The announcement comes following the conclusion of an ECSA Piracy Task Force meeting in June. The association, cited major increases in piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea and its effects on African import and export prices.

“EU shipowners cannot resolve the situation themselves and call upon the EU and its Member States for immediate and concrete action,” said the report, calling for international military presence outside territorial waters, and regional naval protection from within. “The EU should contribute by funding capacity building to provide high quality local naval capabilities. EU financial aid must be made available to local States to ensure regional cooperation, capacity building and governance issues.”

It also cited the need for establishment of an appropriate reporting framework and procedure. “Reporting is hardly taking place as there is no reliable and trustworthy system to report into. Shipowners fear that the information they provide might be used for wrong purposes.”

In its half year report anti-piracy watchdog the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) highlighted the issue under reporting of attacks off West Africa saying it prevented a meaningful response from the authorities.

“The EU has shown leadership in counter-piracy missions and is in the strong position to be able to act promptly on different fronts such as: political, diplomatic, trade, development aid and with military involvement. ECSA calls on the EU and the Member States to come up with a concrete action plan that takes above demands and concerns into account. Immediate action is required,” ECSA stated.

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