Eos Risk Management launched a new maritime security service on the 20th February, which it claims is unlike any other provided by a western security company. Their West Africa service will protect commercial ships on their way through the notoriously unstable region of the Gulf of Guinea, which has been designated a High Risk Area for piracy and other hostile incidents.
This fully licensed service supplies ex-forces armed operatives, using the latest equipment and trained in advanced conflict management techniques that will protect vessels as they travel through this area, from the Ivory Coast to Cameroon.
Over the last 18 months this area has seen an increase in pirate attacks from groups operating out of Nigeria who have turned to oil tankers and other container ships in order to steal the cargo which is then sold on the black market. The profits from this are then channelled into criminal activities such as people trafficking, drugs/arms smuggling and terrorism.
In 2011 there were 25 reported incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, but in 2012 there were 32 incidents in this area which shows a worrying increase (www.icc-ccs.org).
This rise in attacks corresponds with a decrease in Somali piracy which confirms the suspicions held by international authorities which suspected a growth in piracy off the coast of West Africa. In addition, there is an increased threat of violence from these pirates, compared to their Somali counterparts who are keen to take hostages and hold them for ransom. These pirates from the Gulf of Guinea are more interested in the cargo and will physically attack and kill crew members in order to gain access to this.
Many western security firms have to engage the services of the Nigerian and West African armies to provide armed protection but Eos supplies its own teams and weapons for this very purpose.
According to Eos, the advantage of this is that the shipping company utilises the services of a team with vital skills, knowledge and experience needed for what can be a life threatening situation. They are provided with a service which offers high duty of care, professionalism and trust.