The results presented in subsections in this study are constituted by analysis and discussions based on outcomes from research interviews, field observations, survey interpretation, and estimation of the cost of piracy and implications for economic advancement in Africa.

Reported outcomes from the respondents’ interviews

A total of five individual experts from the various statutory institutions with relevant maritime knowledge and background were the selection target for the interviews; however, two of the selected experts were from two institutions, namely, the Ghana Navy (GN) and the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), which were available for interviews in this study. The first, who is currently an active commander within the eastern naval command front of the Ghana Navy, has over 13 years of maritime law enforcement experience. The latter, who serves with the GMA as an active port state control (PSC) inspector in the regulatory capacity, also wielded excellent experience in port and coastal state requirements for ships in the GoG region. Together, their experiences and knowledge espoused should shed more light on the concerns in the region, as shared in the paragraphs below.

What role do regulatory authorities and shipowners play in situations of attacks on crew

According to resource persons, governmental efforts towards aiding ship crew in piracy confrontations ensure the safe release of ship crew from their captors. These efforts mostly hinge on successful military operations under articles 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, and 111 of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas, UNCLOS 1982. Likewise, West African nations’ governments do not negotiate with criminal syndicates whose goal is to continue perpetrating crimes to the detriment of their societies. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in this single approach during military operations. Therefore, ship owners and insurers continue to assist diplomatically in paying ransoms in most situations where a successful release of the kidnapped crew occurred. Despite this drawback, military efforts are growing with the various collaborations implemented. The Nigerian Maritime Administration Support Agency (NIMASA) established the Deep Blue Project (DBP) for maritime security to combat piracy problems in the GoG region. Its operation focuses on the Nigerian anchorages forming part of the DBP jurisdiction. The setup also coordinates interagency information sharing between GoG nations regarding maritime security threats and concerns.

Again, focusing on recorded pirate cases in January, February, April, May, June, July, August, September, and November 2020 (also seen in Fig. 8 on page 15) and between January and March 2021, where 15 crew members were kidnapped, one recorded incident of crew death each while discussing with expert respondents. In addition, experts highlighted intensified naval patrols, growing regional collaborations, and international support to buttress the ongoing efforts. Thus, according to them, relying on Yaoundé Architecture for Maritime Safety and Security (YAMSS) resources, newer acquisitions of naval gadgets and surveillance assets across the various naval institutions in Africa have become possible within a short time. Unfortunately, the military operations in the region have suffered several fatalities (especially of the Nigerian navy) during hot pursuits with collateral damages, thus according to respondents. Therefore, several military exercises are taking place among regional naval institutions to boost naval capacity and capabilities. The latest to be conducted was in March 2021, hosted by the Ghana Navy, the ‘Obangame Express 2021’ (OE21), the largest maritime exercise ever conducted in Western Africa (GM Event 2021). Accordingly, government-led international efforts in the GoG area have seen the French and Italian navies make vessels available to support regional counterpiracy and maritime security efforts from early to mid-2020 (GM Event 2021). Another layer of interest in understanding the maritime security concerns examined is the eyewitness report detailed in subsequent paragraphs.

Interview of eyewitness respondents associated with piracy incidence in the GoG area

One respondent who unfortunately became a direct victim of a pirate attack near the coast of Equatorial Guinea in 2019 highlighted the concerns of the piracy menace among local seafarers of the region. The victim, a deck officer on board the vessel and his fellow crew, was the first to be attacked by pirates in the GoG. However, it is unclear if they raised the alarm when attacked. This situation notwithstanding, upon the hijack of their vessel, the pirates proceeded to use the hijacked vessel as a platform to aid in robbing other unsuspecting vessels plying the trade route of the Gulf area. With the Equatorial Guinea navy on high alert after receiving notification of pirate attacks near their coast over the period, it was in no time that the vessel was apprehended during the hot pursuit. All crew on board the hijacked vessel was subsequently taken into custody. The account suggested that the pirates on the hijacked vessel who boarded the unsuspecting vessel used the hijacked vessel and its crew as a decoy and were long gone before the navy’s arrival.

Subsequently, the owners of the hijacked vessel contacted the authorities of Equatorial Guinea with the necessary information and documentation, seeking the release of their crew and vessel. However, their request was denied. The diplomatic stalemate escalated, and soon the Nigerian government was involved. After several days into weeks in custody, the crew was finally released. The researchers’ focus on the aftermath of this single incident demonstrates the difficulties pirates’ victims encounter, indirectly due to the nature of the cross-border crime. Most respondents familiar with the incident that drew local attention among the West African seafaring community as an alumnus of the Regional Maritime University were sentimental in their responses and demanded proper surveillance and collaboration among stakeholders.

In the aftermath of the single incident referred to above involving the alumnus of the regional training institution, the researchers note that although the hijacked vessel used in committing the crime of piracy in the exemplary case here referred to was locally owned and operated by Nigerians through the nation’s cabotage laws. The circumstance does not negate any impending developments toward implementing cabotage laws being considered across the maritime industry in the region. Fundamentally, the regulation would ensure that regional and continental trading resulted in the overall growth of Africa’s economy. However, given that various data sources (including the ICCIBM reports) identify Nigeria as having the highest incidence counts in the region and being the home of the nationality most suspected pirates involved in hijacks and robbery in the region, it remains unclear to what extent these poorly regulated maritime corridors are exploiting the practice of cabotage in perpetrating maritime crimes.

Outcomes from the online survey of seafarers

The reported results are presented in the section and categorised as seen below.

Demographic background of respondents

A total of 105 respondents from the targeted maritime population in Table 1 were expected to be sampled; however, there were 72 actual respondents, of which 60 were of the ship crew. The background of the study examined respondents’ demographic data, considering the age ranges (seen in Fig. 4) and the level of professional experience (seen in Fig. 5). This was important to shedding light on their understanding and experiences of the incidents of maritime insecurities.

Fig. 4
figure 4

Source: Authors

Age and gender of individuals sampled.

Fig. 5
figure 5

Source: Authors

Professional years of experience.

The ages of the female and male respondents are shown in Fig. 4. Of these, 59.15 per cent of respondents were within the 25 and 34 age range, and 21.15 per cent were within the age range of 35 and 44 years. No one was over 64 years old. A total of 7.04 per cent were also respondents aged between 18 and 24 years. The remaining 12.68% represented individuals belonging to the (45–54) and (55–64) year age groups.

These respondents were also rated for their experience level (seen Fig. 5). Those with under 5 years of experience amounted to 91 years. Those with 5( +)-years of experience in the maritime industry amounted to 349–440 years of experience. Most respondents indicated that they work in both onshore and offshore areas. Those whose experiences stretched to offshore areas engaged in the hydrocarbon industry on various field development projects across Africa. While most served onboard various heavy-lift and light construction vessels, MODUs, and FPSO units, others served onboard containers, roll-on roll-off (RORO) carriers, offshore support vessels (OSV), and platform supply vessels (PSV). These levels of experience in the view of researchers should strongly correlate with the views expressed by respondents who are empirical to the analysis.

Piracy and armed robbery experiences in the Gulf of Guinea

Researchers asked if the respondents or any close associates were aware of the piracy insecurity trends within the GoG and if they had any prior encounters with pirates or armed robbers in the area. The analysis of the responses given by respondents is shown in Fig. 6.

Fig. 6
figure 6

Source: Authors

Respondent’s proximity to Piracy or high-sea armed robbery.

All respondents show an outstanding level of awareness. Figure 6 analysis reflects the responses of respondents for whom over 67.2 per cent indicated that they or their close associates had previous experience with pirates or armed robbery attacks within the GoG area. A total of 27.59 per cent indicated that they had no such experiences working within the GoG. However, 5.17 per cent were unsure if they had such encounters at any time at sea. Most suggested that their experiences were less than five years old, with most of their experiences within the last three years of the most recent decade. The outcomes seen here also reflect the rampant nature of attacks within the region and the levels of risk that seafarers are exposed to.

Challenges faced compared against the threat of piracy and armed robbery

The seafaring community was then gauged for Respondents’ views on some significant issues they ranked higher as immediate concerns and why they felt so. For example, the health and travel restriction crises because of COVID-19 (Sackey et al. 2021a, b), the loss and lack of jobs, the lack of recognition, the high cost of training and certification, and the growing trend of piracy in the region were few identified as current problems faced by the seafaring and maritime community. The responses obtained are shown in Fig. 7.

Fig. 7
figure 7

Source: Field data

Respondents’ rating of the present challenges to the maritime industry of West Africa.

The results from Fig. 7 show that the respondents ranked the issue of maritime piracy and armed robbery in the GoG second and on the same scale as the issues of contract cancellations that hit the industry, especially the upstream oil and gas sector, during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the loss of jobs and an uncertain future. According to respondents, redundancy and lack of jobs amid the pandemic ranked higher because it created an environment of uncertainty for careers and families, as most had no other source of income. Respondents further indicated that none received welfare compensation from their employers upon being laid off. This was parallel with the losses most companies in the maritime sector were facing because of the cancellation of contracts fuelled by the travel restrictions implemented by nations within the region and worldwide. This claim is supported by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) report on Ghana as a case in point when examining the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shocks thus, according to Adom-Frimpong (2021). The 2020 PIAC report on Ghana’s upstream sector noted that signing new contracts, scheduling of projects earmarked for execution, and ongoing projects were mainly halted (Adom-Frimpong 2021).

However, piracy and armed robbery remained high during the period, as reported by the ICCIBM2020 report. Figure 8 shows the current piracy and armed robbery trends based on data from the IBM report between 2016 and 2020.

Fig. 8
figure 8

Source: ICCIBM Report (2020)

The Last Five Years’ Trend of Global Piracy and armed robbery based on ICC IBM data.

Figures 8 and 9 show that the GoG area has witnessed a consistent rise in maritime security threats since 2016 and only dipped slightly in 2017 and 2019. Figure 9 also shows the subdivision of the data concerning incidences, helping identify the various hotspots.

Fig. 9
figure 9

Source: ICC IBM Report (2020, 2021a, 2022)

Regions of reported incidences.

Compared to incidences recorded in other areas across the world, this trend highlights the GoG area as a high-risk zone that ultimately affects the economic trading value of the region in terms of trade volumes and tariffs. From Fig. 8, the GoG area marked in orange can be classified as the hotspot. It is believed that piracy in the GoG is traceable back to the Niger Delta when attacks involved refined petroleum products carried in relatively small crafts, such as products and chemical tankers (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, 2012).

Therefore, researchers discuss with expert respondents to understand the current problem and measures to curtail the situation. An expert respondent indicated that several measures by various navies are implemented across West Africa. Among the security measures identified as enforced are regular naval patrols. In addition, the joint naval patrols support these among West African nations. Under this scope of operations, the regional navies are occasionally joined by their international counterparts from Europe (e.g., France Navy), South America, and North America (US navy).

According to some respondents, expanding regional cooperation has also seen the Nigerian navy embark on a regional voyage to neighbouring West African nations, including Ghana and Gambia. There are also records of recent marine naval vessel acquisitions across the subregion. In addition, Ghana and Nigeria are restructuring their naval tactic even as they deliver newer assets such as speed boast. This and more continue to get implemented. This is detailed in subsequent sections.

The pre- and post-COVID-19 situation and its relation to insecurity status

Concerning the pre, during and post-COVID-19 situational impact on maritime insecurity in the GoG region, the trends of the pre-pandemic situation are clearly depicted in Figs. 8 and 9 above (see also Fig. 10). Again, comparing the pre-pandemic and the pandemic (during phase) (i.e., between March 2020 until the date since an official end of the health crisis has not yet been declared despite having the pandemic under control relatively) eras, the pandemic projected a surge in piracy and armed robbery incident reporting. In addition, crimes in the GoG region, appear to have continued for some time into 2021 before dropping by the end of the 1st quarter of 2022. See Fig. 10 for further details.

Fig. 10
figure 10

Source: ICC IBM Report (2020, 2021a, 2022)

Regional Trends of reported incidences.

According to ICCIBM (2021b), the first nine months of 2021 in the Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 piracy and armed robbery incidents, compared to 46 in 2020. Crew kidnappings dropped to only one incident of kidnapped crew members during Q3 of 2021, compared to 31 crew members taken on five separate occasions in Q3 of 2020. Although the maritime insecurity trend amid the pandemic has not been consistent, they note that all the Q3 incidents in 2021 were against vessels at port anchorages. The average successful kidnapping location in Q3 2020 was approximately 100 NM from land (ICC IBM 2021b). While the slowing of reported incidences (see Fig. 10) has been widely acknowledged globally, the ICCIBM (2022) also suggests that this can be attributed to the efforts of the regional and international navies. According to them, collaborative work in the GoG region has reduced reported incidents from 16 in Q1 2021 to seven in 2022. Only a few months ago, the region became notoriously recognised as a hotspot. However, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre urges continuous efforts to ensure piracy is permanently addressed within these highly risky waters (ICCIBM 2022).

Field observation of ship crew experiences responding to piracy or armed robbery alerts

The results presented below capture the reporting of incidences and anticipated actions expected of crew members during distress alerts.

Reporting of incidence onboard

Respondents were asked about their experiences as ship crew and how they responded to piracy alerts broadcasted on the NAVTEX when they found themselves within the region of occurrence. They suggested that it is never a pleasant situation for anyone to experience piracy or its potential occurrence at any time. However, actions taken regardless of the distance between the broadcast location are consistent with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) and designated security levels enforced upon the alert advice received under Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974. According to deck officers of the Lewek Constellations and Seven Arctic, for which the lead researcher conducted the field studies, the ship captain, in collaboration with the ship security officer, had the mandate to raise the security level upon close examination of the facts under his discretion. This, however, depends on the unfolding of the situation.

Researchers observed that most ship owners and ship management companies encourage their operatives currently operating in the GoG region (thus designated as a piracy hot spot) to be on high alert regardless of the security levels implemented, whether offshore or port facility locations. Most occasionally, ISPS weathertight doors were kept closed on the instructions of the ship captain and ship security officer while creating a single entry and exit route for the onboard crew during transit from and to offshore facility locations and visiting crew when at port locations. The enhanced security situation naturally results in a restriction on mobility and operations.

However, the extreme vigilance per action of some ship captains, regardless of the security level implemented by the port facility locations in West African countries, is counterproductive, according to some port officials. For example, the attention of officials of Takoradi port was drawn to the fact that one of our platform-of-opportunity observer vessels berthed at the port Wharf had implemented an ISPS security level 2 designation while within the harbour. As a result, port officials called the captain on the radio, and it was demanded he resent the current security level to the lowest, for which he obliged.

Actions of crew counteracting piracy alerts

Respondents further indicated that whether a piracy threat is deemed real or not, the psychological impact from anxiety, uncertainty, constant anticipation, and fear of losing one’s life is a trauma that sits with the crew as they fight to implement security measures in anticipation. They suggested the constant practice drill of the ISPS Code’s security awareness training with designated duties for each crew member. According to them, under safety and security, emergency drills are a source of comfort in a difficult real-life situation for which outcomes are unpredictable.

Posing a vigilant lookout for any suspicious activities within the work vicinity within the GoG by strange vessels is a consented effort for the crew onboard the vessel, according to respondents, and is not limited to only the Officer of the Watch (OOW) or members of the marine deck crew. Immediately, any such observations should be reported to the ship’s bridge, possibly via radio. All these are measures recommended by the ICC IBM, as they warned ships operating in the GoG region of eminent attacks (ICCIBM 2021c).

It was incumbent on the crew to ensure the awareness of the various security protocols as per the ISPS code and ship security plans and means of raising the alarm or reporting such incidents no matter their role. This code includes familiarising oneself with the designated haven during ISPS emergencies. Such an occasion also demands crew lookout for one another, ensuring that less experienced guided individuals are safe. Respondents reiterated that it is not the vessel crew’s role to act as heroes during such attacks and therefore ensure they control their emotions, potentially resulting in a fatal adverse reaction. Therefore, a mental state of calm must always be from all crew members.

Estimated cost of the piracy threat against the AfCFTA stimulating Africa’s maritime growth

According to ICCIBM (2021c), the first quarter of 2021 counted 38 pirate attacks worldwide, which directly threatened the lives of 45 crew members. Of these data, the farthest distance covered by pirates was 212 nautical miles that occurred within the GoG area, risking the life of 15 crew, thus suggesting the extent of threat coverage from the coastline into the high seas the level of capabilities acquired by these pirates in the region. In addition, various institutions provide K&R coverage at varying premium rates. For example, Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited (SIMSL 2015) provides a K&R premium up to a limit of 10 million US dollars. Similarly, the Swedish P&I Club (n.d.) sets a limit of 30 million US dollars per incident or event. Therefore, estimates of the premium utilisation over the recorded K&R incidence period across the maritime industry are given in Table 2 based on ICCIBM incidence data (ICCIBM 2020,2021a).

Table 2 Estimated cost of reported ransoms per premium rate to piracy event.

For the general cost of piracy in the GoG region, the data obtained and evaluated are presented in Table 3 based on the assumptions considered under the data analysis.

Table 3 Projected estimated cost of piracy in terms of insurance acquisition over the given period of study.

It is imperative to note that today’s maritime insecurities are inevitable, given that rerouting, delaying a voyage, or acquiring additional security measures in addition to insurance cover presents an additional cost to shipping operations in the region and worldwide. As AfCFTA implementation continues throughout the continents, there is great expectation for industrialising Africa. The industrialisation drive is to grow the trade volumes. These efforts ultimately will rely on local and regional interest in areas of maritime transport network infrastructure and the business of vessel services. Therefore, liner and tramp vessels are crucial to enhancing connectivity since they can deal with transporting large volumes of goods compared to trucks and road networks. These road networks are complemented by the rapid expansion of railway infrastructure connecting landlocked countries.

Maritime cabotage laws as implemented in Nigeria can therefore shape the future of Africa if adequately implemented across the continent. In contrast, efforts to eliminate pirate attacks in the region expanded catered to a possible shift, thus widening the GoG hotspot locations (ICCIBM 2021c) into lesser patrol areas along the African coast post-COVID-19. According to respondents, every effort implemented currently in the GoG area should consider a segmented sweep patrol field design collaboratively from every coastal nation to the coastline of Africa. Using the 6,000 km coastline of the GoG nations’ battle with the rising incidence of attacks as a learning curve, the situation should help develop a long-term maritime security administration to ensure Africa’s continuous sustainable trade and economic growth.

The designation of the GoG as a maritime security hot spot (ICCIBM 2021d) in the most recent time has an implied cost for shipping that directly reflects today’s rising inflations among West African nations as the global economic recovery continues. This excess cost tends to stifle all socioeconomic gains while leading to the collapse of small-scale businesses.

The practice of cabotage and local content laws and concerns for maritime security

For developing countries and regions with low economic capital and political power to a growing population, infrastructural deficits, high levels of illiteracy and unemployment, legislating for wealth appears to be the only viable solution to a highly competitive global market dominated by developed countries in addition to regular humanitarian aid.

The laws on local content in Africa today deal with concerns about getting local investors to favourably participate in the extractive sectors of natural resources in Africa while encouraging joint venture (JV) opportunities with potential foreign partners. In Ghana, the requirements seek to promote value addition and job creation, capacity building, and high-level acquisition of capital assets by indigenous operatives in the petroleum sector (Petroleum Commission Ghana, PC 2019). Such an effort is in line with AfCFTA’s goals for the continent. The lead researcher benefited from the occasion to observe the implementation of the laws in the oil and gas engineering service sectors from 2017 through 2020 on the OCTP (Offshore Cape Three Point) Sankofa Gye Nyame field development and the Jubilee Turret remediation projects. Deliberate efforts ensured that local Ghanaian crew members with the prerequisite seafaring documentation were absorbed and further trained into various roles onboard MODUs, Offshore Construction vessels, OCVs and FPSO units. The appointments encompassed low- and middle-level vessel management and operational responsibilities.

Although the larger chunked were evidently in low-level roles (such as rigging technician, able-bodied seaman, welders, motorman and occasionally cadets), the consistent efforts ensured the transfer of skills and exposure to real work scenarios. Evident this assertion, the researcher also observed a progressive manpower development onboard marine vessel Polar Onyx subsequently chartered by subsea construction company Deep Ocean Ghana. Thus, through consistent development of some Ghanaian crew while on the job training from 2018 to 2020, some of these individuals were promoted to mid-level management based on performance assessment. Others took on the operational roles of deck foreman and shift supervisor. It is essential to note here that most of the young seafarers in the African Seafaring community have on average high school and above the level of education and therefore are the industry’s future if adequate policies implemented are to capitalise on the development (Sackey et al. 2021a). These efforts highlight the economic benefit of the implemented LOC (local content) regulations. Cabotage laws are seen as a step further in this agenda.

The call to implement maritime cabotage laws continues to grow in Africa, although little has been done to ensure it becomes law across most African countries. For example, Nigeria successfully implemented the cabotage law in recent years and saw a rise of indigenes manning vessels operating in their territorial waters. One such vessel observed in a 2020-year operation was the anchor handling tow support vessel (AHTS) Seven Adaba of NigerStar 7, which assisted with barge towing between the port and offshore locations within Ghana. The successful operational model emulated can be under cabotage practice across Africa. Thus, they should be properly aligned with Economic community of West African states, ECOWAS and the AU trade protocols. The growing interest among countries suggests the need for the AfCFTA on maritime trade practices to incorporate a measured scheme of the cabotage principle under its framework for trade operations to ensure growth.

While these calls are noble in enhancing economic empowerment to locals in the region, the concerns of maritime insecurity have become apparent in relative terms, with the GoG region currently marked as a piracy hotspot, raising concerns of capacity security and insurance, financial, regulatory, and legal institutions in dealing with the challenge. Questions arise as to the capacity of local insurance companies to handle K&R claims. While Nigeria’s cabotage law remains a typical example of cabotage implementations, the high rate of pirate and armed attacks recorded as originating from Nigerian waters and high seas leaves much to be desired. The situation beckons with questions rather than answers—suggesting that any effort at implementing a cabotage law must first be grounded in an adequately regulated maritime space. However, researchers observe a rise in tramp shipping within Nigeria—constituted by tugboat towing barges stacked with container loads. They assert that as a result of the implementation of cabotage, this have become a common phenomenon across the waterways of Lagos and its surrounding while easing traffic flow on the various land road networks. However, the study observes some concerns related to safety in operation due to poor standards of some practitioners.

Potential role of fishing communities and artisanal fisherfolks against maritime insecurity

Two approaches have been identified in response to Africa’s age-old maritime piracy problem. First, the fight against insecurities in Africa today focuses on the reactionary approaches, thus concerning crew training in preparedness for potential security emergencies and national response through naval war assets, highlighted in the previous sections. Second, some experts have called on the need to ensure economic prosperity in fishing communities to curtail the vulnerability of individual artisanal fisher folk’s exposure to groups of organised crime syndicates. Such an approach is a proactive, indirect cause and effect measure, although it cannot easily be measured for successes or failures.

During field observations of the various actors engaged in operations in the GoG area, the researchers observed four stages involved in a maritime piracy (or armed robbery) cycle.Footnote 2 Thus, they all have various timeline lines, actors, defined requirements, and actions. This framework of the pirate operational stages depicted is shown in Fig. 11.

Fig. 11
figure 11

Source: Concept-based on field data analysis

Cyclical growth stages of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region.

Figure 9 illustrates the flow of pirates’ conception and planning of an attack from the pirate attack planning (PAP) stage and proceeds to execute their operation by approaching the unsuspecting target vessel. At the pirate-approaching target (PA) stage, the situation becomes visibly apparent to the targeted vessel operators, who may raise the alarm through the Ship Security Alarm System (SSAS). The alert is subsequently broadcasted via NAVTEX to all vessels within the vicinity, flag state and the coastal states nearby, exercising the right to hot pursuit for the pirates of the pirate encounter stage (PET). Responses, in this case, can be of two outcomes, either successful or failure. The latter is usually the case. Hence, the pirate operations proceed to the next and final stage, called the pirate repeated operations (PRO) mode level. This period involves regrouping and strategizing—where needed—the acquisition of operational assets from proceeds. The final stage informs their next planned attack and the needed preparations.

Hence, there are five visible intercepts (see Fig. 11) by which these pirate attacks can be foiled along the growth cycle in the GoG region, thus, proactively within the given framework of time if all the needed resources are available. However, the first resource required to be proactive is an eye-on-sight approach that can rarely be achieved; given the wide range of the coastline, the few naval boats must be covered in regular surveillance. Therefore, researchers believe that the role of the fishermen and the fishing communities should be defined appropriately in this fight, thus allowing for the proper allocation of resources to enhance effective collaboration.

This model should follow a modified version of community policing but on the high seas. Thus, all fishing communities should be engaged in various forms of dialogues, education, and training. A successful outcome should result in forming watchdog groups that consist of naturally experienced fishers and slightly educated members who can assist in communicating or operating radio alert beacons. All local and international collaborations will yield poor results if the side-line of these local artisanal fishers continues. Thus, they are seen as less of the foremost stakeholders in providing a solution to reducing or eliminating the menace. Again, some amount from international financial aid received towards fighting piracy can be used in securing mobile technological alerts and communication systems that the local leaders can distribute to the operatives while at community landing beaches before any fishing expedition at sea.

Proper motivations such as financial or material incentives should accompany the proposal for any successfully reported alert that leads to a successful operation. In addition, there should be an open communication channel between the security apparatus and the operatives of the local fishing boats (LFBs) to ensure transparency and trust.

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