Due to recent incidents of Korean crew being hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa, the South Korean government intends to restrict its citizens from fishing in the relevant waters.
According to Yonhap News Agency’s report on the 21st, many government officials revealed that the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and other relevant departments are studying a plan to impose fines on South Korean citizens operating in the “pirate-infested high-risk waters” of the Gulf of Guinea. Millions of won. The South Korean government is also considering a plan to revoke the relevant personnel’s licenses when they are investigated.
Since July 3, the South Korean government has designated 323,000 square kilometers of sea areas covering Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Benin and other countries along the Gulf of Guinea as high-risk sea areas, and advised fishing boats not to go fishing in this sea area. Yonhap News Agency pointed out that because the measures are not compulsory, there are still South Korean citizens working in the waters, leading to repeated kidnappings. Therefore, the South Korean government will take tough measures this time.
It is reported that at the end of September, the South Korean government dispatched a maritime police officer to Ghana and other countries along the coast of West Africa where pirates are rampant to respond to the pirate hijacking incident. The dispatched South Korean Coast Guard inspects the operations of South Korean citizens in high-risk waters and is responsible for crew management and other tasks. In addition, the government recently dispatched a police officer to Lagos, Nigeria, on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea to support related work.
Recently, there have been several kidnapping cases of South Korean citizens in West African waters. On May 3, 2020, a South Korean citizen was released after being hijacked by pirates while catching shrimp in Cape Santa Clara near Libreville, Gabon. On June 24, the fishing boat “PANOFI FRONTIER” was kidnapped by armed men in the sea about 111 kilometers from the port of Cotonou, Benin. The five Korean crew members on board were released 32 days after being kidnapped.
According to a report issued by the International Maritime Organization on October 14th, in the first nine months of 2020, a total of 132 piracy incidents were reported globally, up from 119 in the same period last year, with the Gulf of Guinea area off the coast of West Africa accounting for the majority. Among them, there were 85 cases of kidnapping crew and extortion for ransom, and 80 cases in the Gulf of Guinea, accounting for about 95% of such cases worldwide. Since 2002, a total of 610 piracy attacks have occurred in the Gulf of Guinea, making it the most common area for piracy and kidnapping in the world.