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International cargo tankers: Nigerian backed pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are increasing.

African Security News.- Gulf of Guinea, Pirate incidents in 2012.

African Security News.- Gulf of Guinea, Pirate incidents in 2012.

West Africa.- Pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have increasingly targeted international cargo tankers, with roughly $100 million (74 million euros) in product stolen since 2010, a risk analysis group said Thursday, revealing new details about regional unrest.

The nature of maritime crime off Nigeria, Togo and Benin has sparked debate in recent months, with some prominent organisations calling it an emerging piracy hub where attacks are on the rise.

The  targeted are oriented towards attacks against product-carrying tankers, involved in international trade.

In the past, pirates typically raided local or regional vessels, whose crews had various motivations, including political ones, to keep quiet after being robbed.

The International Maritime Bureau, which is funded by ship owners, said in July that armed robbery and kidnappings at sea had been surging off west Africa.

The IMB has over the last 18 months repeatedly cited a rise in attacks in the region.

The Danbis group Risk Intelligence said pirates in the Gulf of Guinea are making more money than ever.

An estimated 117,000 metric tons of product worth approximately $100 million (74 million euros) has been stolen since 2010, says the danish group in a statement.

The solution to the scourge has to come from Nigeria’s government. “The backers and sponsors are Nigerians. The buyers and brokers of stolen cargo are Nigerians and the attack teams are Nigerians,” says the danish group, noting that the pirates may get some “logistical help” from accomplices in Benin, Ghana and Togo.

Nigeria is Africa’s top oil producer, generating some two million barrels per day from onshore and deepwater fields in the Niger Delta, which falls along the Gulf of Guinea.

Many of the targeted vessels have been laden with crude oil, destined for refineries around the world.

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