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Denmark to fight Gulf of Guinea piracy by deploying a frigate

Maritime security is challenged in the Gulf of Guinea, as about 40% of reported pirate attacks worldwide take place in that area.

On a global scale, 135 crew were kidnapped from their vessels in 2020, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for over 95% of crew numbers kidnapped.

It is reported that a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents. Since 2019, the Gulf of Guinea has experienced an unprecedented rise in the number of multiple crew kidnappings. In the last quarter of 2019 alone, the Gulf of Guinea recorded 39 crew kidnapped in two separate incidents.

The incidents taking place in the area are a great danger to the seafarers, as over 80% of attackers were armed with guns. All three vessel hijackings and nine of the 11 vessels fired upon in 2020 related to this region. Crew kidnappings were reported in 25% of vessel attacks in the Gulf of Guinea – more than any other region in the world.

What is more, on average more than 40 Danish operating ships sail through the Gulf of Guinea and transport goοds for almost 10 billion DKK a year.

Considering the fact that Denmark undertakes the responsibility as a marine nation when the safety and the right to free navigation are threatened, it decided to apply ”sharp measures against the pirates in the Gulf of Guinea both in terms of diplomatic and military contributions”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jeppe Kofod.

Therefore, the frigate will be equipped with a Seahawk helicopter and will be able to deploy Special Operation Forces from the frigate’s Naval Task Force, if necessary. The Operation Forces are specially trained to execute rescue operations on captured ships among others.

Howeever, the Minister of Defence, Trine Bramsen, believes that several countries must take responsibility when it comes to securing the sea in the Gulf of Guinea:

In a situation like this, nor can or shall we underestimate the situation’s gravity. We must stand up for the right to free navigation. The Danish Navy has previously proved itself as a strong and important asset in the combat of the pirates. However, if we are really going to get the security under control in the Gulf of Guinea an international military presence is necessary.

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