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Togo Sentences Pirates to Prison

The Gulf of Guineabordering nation of Togo has thrown the book at a gang of nine pirates, sentencing them with up to 20 years in jail for their role in an attack on a chemical tanker.

The group was accused of carrying out an armed attack on the MT GDONA 1 in Togolese waters back in May 2019. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre reported at the time that the ship was boarded and hijacked at a Lome anchorage before being intercepted about 25 nautical miles away by the Togo Navy. The crew was reported safe and the intruders were captured and handed over to the authorities.

Reporting indicates its the first maritime piracy conviction in Togo. The group was made up of mostly Nigerians, but one is Togolese and one Ghanaian. Their sentences ranged from 12 to 20 years.

The vast majority of crew kidnappings worldwide occur in the Gulf of Guinea, where piracy and armed robbery against ships has surged in recent years and hit a record of 130 crew members kidnapped in 22 separate incidents in 2020, according to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. While the majority of incidents in the region take place off the coast of Nigeria, attacks have spread to neighboring waters off Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea.

To tackle the issue, the International Maritime Organization in May called for increased collaboration while that same month a group of industry stakeholders launched the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy, representing a call to action to help end to scourge of piracy against ships in the region.

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.

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