Piracy could threaten Mozambique’s Gas exploration and production

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A professor at the Aquino de Braganca Centre for Social Studies in Maputo Joao Paulo Coelho has warned Somali pirates could be a cause for maritime security off the Mozambique coast.

Speaking at a maritime security seminar in South Africa Coelho said the problem was likely to hit mostly the northern part of Mozambique’s quiet Cabo Delgado province near the Tanzanian border where gas and oil exploration is ongoing.

Coelho warns the marginalization of the local population and the culture of sailing in dhows coming in contact with the Somalis could engender piracy.

Currently piracy is being kept at bay by a tri-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) counter-piracy effort ‘Operation Copper’ based at the port city of Pemba and that is patrolling the Mozambique channel.

According to the International chamber of commerce commercial crime service there has been a drop in piracy activities off the East African coast due to increased military action military land based anti piracy operations and increased in armed guards onboard ships.

The east African coast stretching from Somalia to Mozambique has boomed with oil and exploration activity since the discovery of over 100tcf of gas by Anadarko and Eni SPA off the coast Mozambique followed by successful exploration in Tanzania to the North.

No commercial viable reserves are yet to be found in Kenya and Somalia but exploration is ongoing.

An estimated 30% of the world’s oil trade passes through the region and 98% of South Africa’s maritime trade.

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