Denmark has agreed to send a navy frigate to the Gulf of Guinea to combat the scourge of piracy and crew kidnappings in the region.
The frigate will be manned by some 195 troops, a Seahawk helicopter and a maritime forces unit. The deployment will begin in November and last approximately 5 months, according to the Foreign Ministry.
“The aim of the Danish military contributions is to prevent and combat piracy and thus create a safer framework for Danish and international shipping in the Gulf of Guinea,” the Foreign Ministry said in a press release. “The tasks of the frigate’s contribution may include surveillance and reconnaissance, area protection, escorting or accompanying vessels, as well as search and rescue. In some cases, the maritime task force may be deployed as a boarding team on hijacked vessels, in rescue operations and on special reconnaissance missions.”
The frigate’s deployment comes at a time when piracy continues to rage in the Gulf of Guinea. In 2020, the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Center (PRC) reported that 135 crew members were kidnapped from their vessels in 22 separate piracy incidents in the region, accounting for 95% of crew kidnappings reported worldwide during the year. So far this year, piracy incidents in the region have shown no signs of abating, with 43% of all reported piracy incidents and 100% of crew kidnappings worldwide occurring in the region, according to the IMB.
Shipping association BIMCO has maintained that piracy in the region can be suppressed with just two frigates with helicopters and a maritime patrol aircraft to actively combat piracy in the area.
Last week it helped launch the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy, signifying an agreement that piracy and hijackings can be prevented by active anti-piracy operations, including enforcement by non-regional naval forces.
“The Gulf of Guinea is a lifeline for Danish and international shipping. Unfortunately, it has also become a hotspot for piracy and attacks on civilian shipping. Denmark, as the world’s fifth largest civilian maritime nation, cannot and will not tolerate this. That is why we are working both diplomatically and militarily to combat the enormous piracy challenges we see in the area. This is an absolutely crucial effort for Danish exports and for the safety of our seafarers that we have now adopted,” said Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod.