They are now operating in the Gulf of Guinea off Africa’s west coast, and the way they are going about it is having a direct impact on the pockets of South African consumers.
For the past two years, the South African navy has been playing a vital role in the international effort to fight piracy.
There has been a dramatic drop in the number of commercial ships that have been seized for ransom.
Chief of Navy, Admiral Teutenberg said: ‚ÄúThere are increasing incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, and that oil that gets stolen there could also be our oil.‚Äù
On-going piracy is costing the South African shipping industry over R100 billion rand annually.
University of Western Cape Professor Renfrew Christie said: ‚ÄúSomething like 95% of exports goes via sea, but it‚Äôs more than that. We have increasing African states that are going to export oil and gas, and those are vulnerable to piracy. The fact that we currently don‚Äôt have pirates in Cape Town harbour is due to the good work of our navy.‚Äù
Teutenberg said: ‚ÄúThe shipping magnate must pay increased security while transiting along the Somalian coast. And the person who‚Äôs going to carry that cost is the consumer in South Africa.‚Äù
Cape Town is currently hosting a piracy conference where more than 600 naval and maritime experts are discussing the latest strategies to combat piracy.
Experts said the solution lies in greater political will, and wider co-ordination efforts between different navies on the continent.
[Neptune note: we are constantly stunned at the number of news reports which suggest Somali pirates are motoring up the West coast of Africa in order to ply their trade in the Gulf of Guinea!]