Fending Off Pirates: Depending on West African States to Help Won't Count For Much

Published Aug 28, 2013
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John Cartner

The western African states have said clearly they do not have the naval, coast guard or customs resources to deal with the piracy evident in the Gulf of Guinea. Further, they do not say, but it is clear, they do not have the money to do it.

Piracy is now confined to one principal area. But piracy is similar to blood—a little spilled goes a long way. Piracy will spread elsewhere when and if strong emphasis is put on the Gulf of Guinea.

Let us look at the hard facts in this hard business. Here is the seagoing manpower for each state and the vessels available from north to south, as well as their populations and GDPs. Taken together these statements are probably fairly truthful. Third party reports confirm this about uniformed persons and equipment, GDPs and populations.

Morocco: 42,000 uniformed persons, 22 offshore patrol boats, six frigates, one corvette;

Western Sahara: none;Mauritania: 620 uniformed persons, ten patrol and coastal craft;

Senegal: 600 uniformed persons, three flotillas of vessels and craft said to be capable on the high seas as fast coastal patrol and surveillance and naval support;

Gambia: various older Chinese craft and small ships;

Guinea Bissau: none operational;

Guinea: 900 uniformed persons, several small patrol craft;

Sierra Leone: 500 uniformed persons, Type 62 FAC-7, three LSU;

Liberia: six to 10 small patrol craft;

Cote d'Ivoire: 900 uniformed persons, 30 patrol craft in various classes;

Ghana: 5,000 uniformed persons, 30 assorted patrol craft;

Togo: two patrol boats;

Benin: 200 uniformed persons, one OSA missile craft;

Nigeria: 7,000 uniformed persons, 13 HAM fast-attack, 34 inshore patrol boats;

Cameroon: 1,300 uniformed persons, two coastal combatants, 40 patrol craft;

Equatorial Guinea: nine of various classes;

Gabon: 500 uniformed persons, one fast-attack and eight patrol craft;

Republic of Congo: 1,000 uniformed persons, eight patrol craft;

Angola: 2,000 uniformed persons, 12 missile and torpedo craft, 27 inland and coastal patrol craft, 15 amphibious craft.

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