Major international shipping and maritime companies have called for a coalition to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, where armed kidnappings of seafarers reached record levels last year.
A key shipping route stretching from Senegal to Angola, the Gulf of Guinea has seen pirates, mostly Nigerians, attacking farther out to sea in more sophisticated, violent assaults on commercial ships.
A group of about 100 shippers, maritime firms and trade groups have signed a declaration released on Monday calling for more cooperation to curb piracy in the region, which accounted for almost all maritime abductions last year.
“The threat that looms for all seafarers going to the region is being kidnapped at gunpoint for ransom,” said the declaration, which was developed in online meetings by signatories from China, Europe, India, Japan and Turkey.
Signatories include some of the world’s largest shipping companies and associations, including industry group BIMCO, Denmark’s TORM and Maersk Tankers, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd and Chinese transporter COSCO.
Several EU nations often have naval vessels in the area, but pirate gangs are increasingly attacking beyond Nigeria’s coastal waters, where they know ships are more vulnerable.
Denmark, a major shipping nation, in March said that it would dispatch a naval frigate with dozens of marines onboard to deter pirate attacks on commercial vessels in the region.
Denmark has been pushing for a stronger international naval presence in the Gulf of Guinea, where pirates race in speed boats out of bases hidden in Nigeria’s Delta region to snatch crews from vessels.
“We recognize the important steps taken and positive initiatives underway by coastal states in the region,” Monday’s declaration said, referring to Nigeria and its neighbors.
“We call on all stakeholders to ... join together in a coalition to end the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.”
Ethiopia’s Afar region on Friday called on civilians to take up arms against rebels from neighboring Tigray, signaling a potential escalation in fighting that has already displaced tens of thousands this week. “Every Afar should protect their land with any means available, whether by guns, sticks or stones,” regional President Awol Arba said in an interview aired by regional state media. “No weapons can make us kneel down. We will win this war with our strong determination.” Tigrayan rebels launched operations in Afar last weekend, saying they were targeting pro-government troops massing along the two regions’ shared border. A government official said on
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90 percent of its eligible adult population within just seven days, the Bhutanese Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. The tiny country, wedged between India and China and home to nearly 800,000 people, began giving out second doses on Tuesday last week in a mass drive that has been hailed by the UN Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as “arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic.” Bhutan grabbed headlines in April when its government said it had inoculated about the same percentage of eligible adults with the first dose
‘LIBERATE HONG KONG’: The prosecution argued that the slogan was in the tradition of rallying cries for secession dating back to the Qin and Qing dynasties Three Hong Kong judges are to rule tomorrow whether the protest slogan: “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times” is a call for secession when they deliver a verdict on charges against a man arrested at a demonstration last year. The landmark ruling could have long-term implications for how a Beijing-imposed National Security Law against secession, terrorism, subversion and collusion with foreign forces reshapes the territory’s common law traditions, some legal scholars say. Democracy advocates say that a ruling to outlaw the slogan would tighten limits on free speech. The slogan was last year chanted during democracy protests, posted online, scrawled on walls,
For almost 500 years, the arch that connects the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with its Renaissance sacristy has offered visitors a sumptuous, if little glimpsed — and even less studied — vision of religious bounty. The 68 beautifully carved plates of food that adorn the archway in Seville’s cathedral offer rather more than bread and wine. There are pigs’ trotters and wild strawberries, aubergines, clams and oysters. There are peaches, radishes, a skinned hare with a knife by its side, a squirrel served on a bed of hazelnuts and a plate of lemons across which a small snake slithers. There