MONROVIA, Jan. 25 (LINA) – The Government of Liberia, through the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), has strongly condemned the growing scourge of piracy and kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea.
The GOL has called for urgent multilateral action to address this menace in West Africa.
According to the statement released over the weekend by LiMA, the call comes after the gruesome and brazen pirate attack on the Liberian-flagged containership, the MOZART, which led to the death of one seafarer and the kidnapping of 15 others on Saturday, January 23, about 100 nautical miles off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe.
« We strongly condemn the attack against this Liberian vessel and her crew. Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased, and with those whose loved ones have now been kidnapped, » Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, said.
He disclosed that Liberia, as flag State of the vessel, have initiated an investigation pursuant to Article 94 of the United Nations Law of the Sea, citing that the Government of Liberia will work closely with the coastal and port States involved, as well as representatives from the governments of the seafarers.
The Maritime CEO said: « It is now even more urgent for the industry to acknowledge that protocols and procedures will not prevent a privacy attack, » adding that papers cannot stop an RPG or an AK47.
He indicated that a merchant marine seafarer should not be left with no other option than to hide in the citadel counting minute to get kidnapped, noting that the GOL needs to come with a stronger approach to curtail the escalating problem.
« This problem of privacy in the Gulf of Guinea is only worsening. As an African country and leading Maritime state, we must take greater action to face this threat in a practical and efficient manner. The lives of seafarers that trade within our waters and carry out our commerce depend on it, » Commissioner Nagbe explained.
The GoL and its registry is working closely with the shipowners and stakeholders to solve the problem, the LiMA statement said.
CEO Nagbe stated that they will continue to work closely with all relevant parties on this case, particularly with the government of Nigeria, Turkey, and Azerbaijan as well as on the lager issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.