Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, plans to step up maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea to fight piracy and protect the environment off its coast.
Africa’s most populous nation will increase offshore patrols “considering the strategic economic significance of the Gulf of Guinea” to Nigeria, Vice President Namadi Sambo said, according to a statement dated yesterday on the Abuja-based presidency’s website.
A captain and chief engineer on a bulk carrier were shot dead by pirates in the third attack of its kind off Nigeria’s coast since Feb. 9, Cyrus Mody, a London-based manager at the International Maritime Bureau, or IMB, said on Feb. 13.
Nigeria is the fifth-biggest source of U.S. imports. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA operate joint ventures with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. that pump about 90 percent of the country’s crude.
More than 20 ships were attacked last year off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea, with pirates targeting mostly oil product tankers to steal cargo, according to the IMB.
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