International oil tanker association, Intertanko, says urgent steps are needed to combat piracy off West Africa. Attacks carried out off East Africa by Somali pirates dominate the headlines, but West African waters have also become a high-risk area as more oil is found in the region. Just this week a hijacked oil tanker that was intercepted by the Ghanaian navy was returned to Nigeria. Intertanko, whose members own the majority of the world's tanker fleet, said the Gulf of Guinea, stretching from Liberia to Angola, has attracted armed gangs, pirates and organised criminals, particularly in Nigeria and Benin. It says assailants armed with automatic weapons and grenades are ready to use deadly force to snatch oil cargoes, and have little interest in holding crews for ransom, unlike their Somali counterparts. The International Maritime Bureau, based in London, says at least twice as many incidents have taken place this year off West Africa than have been reported. Read more: Reuters, Safety at Sea International
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