On December 27, 2021, President Paul Biya of Cameroon signed a law on the suppression of piracy and general safety of maritime navigation within its waters, making Cameroon the second country in the region to enact a national legal framework on suppression of piracy and maritime offenses. Nigeria was the first after it adopted a similar law back in 2019. The law is a critical milestone in the Gulf of Guinea’s maritime security, with Cameroon’s national maritime authorities empowered to punish any illegal activities threatening safe navigation within its territorial waters.
The law rules on the following: piracy, terrorism onboard ships, pollution of waterways and financing acts of piracy. The punishment for these crimes include life imprisonment if a conviction is successful. Fines range from $16,000 to $4 million depending on the crime.
A series of piracy incidents since 2019 prompted the government to take action. The primary goal was to guarantee security of ships at the Doula anchorage, using local armed guards onboard vessels. Most importantly, as Gulf of Guinea piracy evolves into other maritime offenses such as oil theft, countries in the region are encouraged to strengthen their national capacities in maintaining maritime security. It is hoped that such frameworks, especially combined approaches between neighbouring countries such as the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, will act as further deterrents to criminal gangs.
Read the full news here.