From Cape Verde to the Angolan coast, attacks on ships have increased in recent years. In this vast maritime region, pirates – initially concentrated around the Niger Delta – have extended their activities to all the Nigerian coasts as well as to Benin and Togo, ever since Abuja granted amnesty in 2009.
In 2011, no less than 22 acts of piracy had been recorded in Benin, affecting traffic in the port of Cotonou, which had fallen by 60%. The major economic impact of maritime crime – which includes illegal fishing, drug and arms trafficking – on the West African coasts now requires a regional response.
In June 2013, at a joint summit of the heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, it was decided that a joint response would be delivered.
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