The Crimea disaster has targeted our consideration on the vexed query of Europe’s vitality provides. To an amazing extent Europe is dependent upon Russia for its oil and fuel, which supplies Vladimir Putin disproportionate political leverage. One of many greatest attainable different suppliers is the Gulf of Guinea, which is assumed to have huge untapped reserves – however which can be a world epicentre of maritime crime.
Alongside piracy and armed theft at sea, seaborne crimes reminiscent of unlawful, unreported and unregulated fishing, oil bunkering, trafficking, and the dumping of poisonous waste all disrupt sea commerce lanes, have an effect on the sustainable exploitation of pure assets, and degrade the wellbeing of native populations. On the similar time, there are indicators that actual political motion would possibly quickly reshape this fraught area.
On March 17 2014, the Overseas Affairs Council of the European Union formally adopted the EU Technique on the Gulf of Guinea. That doc exhibits simply how important African maritime safety is on the worldwide stage – not least the way it connects overseas coverage challenges throughout apparently disparate areas and points. The EU’s maritime technique is tightly targeted on the gulf exactly due to the area’s essential position in European vitality safety. Put merely, if maritime crime isn’t stored in test it’ll wreak havoc with extreme ecomonic penalties.
The Summit of Gulf of Guinea Heads of State in Yaoundé in June 2013, adopted a “Code of Conduct In regards to the Prevention and Repression of Piracy, Armed Theft in opposition to Ships, and Unlawful Maritime Actions in West and Central Africa” which, though non-binding for now, urges states:
“…to declare their unique financial zones and implement their very own legal guidelines, together with on fishing, piracy and armed theft at sea, environmental safety, waste dumping and mineral assets together with oil”.
This contradicts the 2050 African Union’s Built-in Maritime Technique, adopted simply a few months in the past, which envisions the institution of a Mixed Unique Maritime Zone of Africa and the African Union’s imaginative and prescient of “a standard African maritime area with out limitations”. One would anticipate that the assorted agreements and initiatives aimed toward minimising maritime insecurity could be aligned firstly at an intra-continental and regional stage, after which on the worldwide stage, as an alternative of conflicting with one another.
The EU technique appears to assume that classes realized from the anti-piracy efforts within the Horn of Africa can merely be exported to the Gulf of Guinea, regardless of the 2 areas’ clear variations. It’s value remembering that non-public maritime safety corporations, which have intensive expertise in combating piracy within the Horn of Africa, face a totally completely different surroundings and regulatory framework within the Gulf of Guinea.
For instance, in an effort to strictly regulate the personal maritime safety trade, Nigeria points licences solely to native operators, whereas overseas corporations can function legally solely with the standing of partnership. It’s apparent that the area doesn’t want to observe the mannequin that the EU is attempting to implement – and it stays to be seen how prepared the EU is to fall consistent with what West African international locations desire.
In the end, the technique is inevitably an financial one. Maybe it’s simply coincidence that the identical day because the EU Overseas Affairs Council adopted this technique, the identical EU entity confirmed the EU’s new help of not less than €6.5 billion for the Financial Partnership Settlement Growth Program (PAPED) for West Africa – or maybe not.
The EU imports practically 10% of its oil and 4% of its pure fuel from the area, and the proximity of the Gulf positively affords the potential for the EU to extend its hydrocarbon imports. Maritime safety should be assured first. On the one hand, that is clear proof that growth and safety have a tendency go hand in hand generally. However equally, the technique is completely timed to assist the EU wean itself off vitality purchased from Russia.
The doubtless deep chill in East-West relations has put an amazing deal at stake and the controversial Russian intervention within the Crimean Peninsula has reminded the EU simply how dependent it’s on a single risky vitality supplier. The Gulf of Guinea, with its huge offshore oil and fuel deposits, affords a perfect different – offered its excessive ranges of organised crime generally and maritime crime particularly could be handled first.
Ioannis Chapsos ne travaille pas, ne conseille pas, ne possède pas de elements, ne reçoit pas de fonds d'une organisation qui pourrait tirer revenue de cet article, et n'a déclaré aucune autre affiliation que son organisme de recherche.