STOKE-ON-TRENT, England, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A British firm is launching a maritime security service for commercial vessels transiting the Gulf of Guinea, a high-risk zone for piracy.
Eos Risk Management Ltd. said its service is fully licensed and will supply former military personnel using the latest equipment and trained in advanced conflict management techniques to protect ships traveling through the gulf 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 company said.
"The profits from this are then channeled into criminal activities such as people trafficking, drug/arms smuggling and terrorism."
The number of reported piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in 2011 was 25. The number last year was 32.
"This rise in attacks, which includes hijackings, poses a threat to shipping in that area and requires a professional risk-assessed response," the company said.