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As a nation with strong seafaring traditions, the Danish maritime sector is the world's 6th largest and holds a key position as a value creator and growth engine to the Danish economy and society.

Especially in the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa, piracy continues to be a major challenge to both those living in the affected areas as well as those sailing the seas around them. Denmark therefore contributes significantly to the international efforts to combat piracy and maritime crime with a focus on these regions.

The Gulf of Guinea, in particular inside and around Nigerian waters, is one of the international waters affected the hardest by piracy and armed robbery at sea. In the first half of 2018, over 40% of all reported pirate attacks in the world oc­curred in the Gulf of Guinea, with attacks in Nigerian waters amounting to 29% of the global total. In addition, other forms of maritime crime such as the trafficking of drugs, weapons and people as well as illegal fishing and fuel theft pose significant threats to the region’s stability and the livelihood of its citizens.

Promoting free trade and sustainable growth, and assisting in diminishing the economic and social impact of maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea region, is an important priority for Denmark.

Piracy is a global challenge

Since its peak in 2011, piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of the Horn of Africa has declined significantly. However, conditions that previously nurtured piracy emanating from Somalia remain, including poverty and lack of employment opportunities, lack of law enforcement, corruption, illegal and unregulated over­fishing, and organised criminal networks that take part in the smuggling of e.g. charcoal, drugs and arms.

Safe and secure navigation in the waters surrounding the Horn of Africa is im­portant for Denmark considering the magnitude of international trade that goes through the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

Denmark’s priorities for coun­tering piracy

The overall objective of Denmark’s efforts to combat piracy and maritime crime is to reduce the threat stemming from these issues in order to protect Danish interests and seafarers as well as international shipping. This requires a comprehensive approach that not only engages with prob­lems at sea, but also addresses root causes on land. Therefore, Denmark makes use of a broad range of tools, both military and civilian, in a concerted and integrated way.

You can read more about the Danish efforts to combat piracy in the Priority paper for the Danish efforts to combat piracy and maritime crime 2019-2022.