Nine Jailed in Togo for Attempted Ship Hijack

Lome court has sentenced nine pirates who attempted to hijack a ship in Togolese waters in May 2019 to prison terms ranging from 12 to 20 years during a trial

It was the first time pirates have been tried in Togo

Togo, one of the West African countries with coastline on the Gulf of Guinea, a major trading route which now accounts for most of the world’s abductions of commercial crew by pirates.

According to a recent report by the International Maritime Bureau, The Gulf of Guinea, which stretches along 5,700 kilometres (3,500 miles) of coastline, accounted for 130 of the 135 kidnappings of seafarers recorded worldwide last year

The ten pirates, including seven Nigerians, two Togolese and one Ghanaian, went on trial for “maritime piracy, wilful violence and groups of criminals”.

The Ghanaian, who is on the run and facing an international arrest warrant, was sentenced on Monday night to 20 years in prison. One Togolese national was acquitted while the other eight pirates were given sentences from 12 to 15 years.

The group were accused of attacking the tanker G-DONA 1 during the night of May 11, 2019.

Prosecutor Kodjo Gnambi Garba told reporters that “… people should understand that piracy and armed robbery at sea will be punished. And for these sea offenses, we will be uncompromising,”

Pirate attacks in the Gulf are mainly carried out by gangs from southeastern Nigeria who speed out in boats to raid commercial vessels offshore to kidnap their crew for ransom.

A group of shippers and trade companies in the international maritime sector in May signed a declaration calling for the creation of a coalition to put an end to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

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