Tuesday, 25th May: To strengthen maritime security, the Danish Parliament announced plans to deploy naval warships in areas where Denmark is listed as one of the top piracy hotspots in the world.
To mitigate the extensive piracy lore, the European country by the end of 2021 will direct its frigate-Esbern Snare towards the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa. This will make them a part of international efforts to reduce piracy.
Being in the 5th spot among the largest maritime nations, Denmark trades nearly $1.6 billion worth of goods through the Gulf Of Guinea annually. Nearly 30-40 Denmark-flagged ships on an average pass from the Gulf of Guinea on a daily basis, confirms Denmark.
The Danish government earlier in March stated that the Gulf of Guinea, which is reported to account for 40% of all pirate attacks, is emerging as a "serious concern" in security matters. The Gulf of Guinea is not at all safe for both Danish and other foreign vessels and crew. With nearly 135 crew kidnappings reported in 2020, pirates of the Gulf of Guinea alone captured 95% of the total in 2020, claims BIMCO (a shipping trade group)
Trine Bramsen (Minister of Defence, Denmark) said, "In such a situation we can not and shall not just watch. We must stand up for the right to free navigation. The Danish Navy has previously proved strong and important in combating pirates. However, if we are going to get the security under control in the Gulf of Guinea, an international military presence is necessary. From the Danish side, we try to have more countries taking responsibility. "
HDMS Esbern Snare (F342), is an Absalon-class frigate of length-137.6 meters. She is expected to patrol the Gulf's international waters from November to March, discouraging piracy and searching for Danish and other foreign merchant vessels in need of assistance. A SEAHAWK helicopter will accompany the 175 Danish Armed Forces personnel onboard the warship. In the case of an emergency, the Guinea waters can witness special operations to rescue hijacked vessels.
"It is a key task for the Danish Navy to contribute to free navigation and security at sea, and therefore, I see it as very positive that our naval vessels with their skilled crews can contribute to international security. I know that the frigate is up to the task, and I am sure that the frigate can improve the situation for all active sailors and crews in the region, "stated Torben Mikkelsen (Rear Admiral, Danish Navy Commander)
Jeppe Kofod (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denmark) boldly claimed that "The Danish flag-waving is a reliable sign of security and safety at sea. Since Denmark undertakes the responsibility as a marine nation when safety and the right to free navigation are threatened. And now we apply sharp measures against the pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, both in terms of diplomatic and military contributions. We have also increased our stabilization efforts in the area, cooperating with relevant coastal states. It is a matter of contributing to making countries more able to handle safety so that we fight pirate attacks as well as the causes of pirate actions. "
For years, the affiliation between Nigerian law enforcement and international navies has been endorsed by BIMCO, which also has support for this move.
"While it is understandable that Nigeria does not want foreign navies in their territorial waters, we hope that Ambassador Horslund will be able to garner broad support for an antipiracy operation as mandated by the UNCLOS convention, i.e. in international waters just outside Nigeria’s 12 nautical mile limit,"- Jakob P. Larsen (head of maritime safety and security, BIMCO).
"It is time for the international community to live up to the aspirations of the UNCLOS convention and suppress piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which affects seafarers and companies from all over the world. "International navies are an essential complement to regional efforts like Nigeria's newly acquired Deep Blue capabilities, which we hope will reach full operational capability soon," Larsen added.
According to BIMCO, frigates equipped with two helicopters, aided by ashore maritime patrol aircraft with strong anti-piracy authorization are enough to mitigate the Gulf of Guinea pirates.