Following the boarding of a Monjasa product tanker offshore the Republic of Congo, the shipowners’ organisation Danish Shipping has called for a new strategy to combat piracy in the West African region.
Monjasa Reformer, owned by Danish bunker supplier Monjasa, was attacked by pirates late Saturday evening in the Gulf of Guinea while sitting idle some 140 nautical miles (260 km) west of Port Pointe-Noire.
“The ongoing serious and unfortunate incident with Monjasa Reformer unfortunately shows with all clarity that the problems with piracy in West Africa are far from solved,” said Anne Steffensen, CEO of Danish Shipping.
Last year, the total number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea was 19, down from 35 in 2021.
Steffensen said that most countries in the region do not have the necessary resources or capacities to respond to such an incident. “We should therefore also consider what smaller contributions to increased training or surveillance Denmark can send, while our naval vessels are busy elsewhere,” she noted.
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The 2003-built 13,700 dwt ship, managed by Montec Ship Management, has 16 non-Danish crewmembers onboard and has yet to be found in the area. It was reported some 870 km from where the incident first took place, and contact with the ship has not yet been established.
“We fully understand that, with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Denmark’s naval capacity is needed elsewhere. But since the piracy problem in West Africa has not been solved, we have to find other solutions. There are constantly naval vessels from several countries in the area, not least from a number of European countries. Therefore, EU countries in particular should coordinate their presence to a much greater extent, so that we cover the huge area as best as possible,” added Steffensen.