A Nigerian court carried out the first convictions under a new piracy law, part of the West African nation’s effort to stem rising maritime crime off its shores.
The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt ordered three men to pay fines of 20 million naira ($52,000) after they pleaded guilty to hijacking a vessel in March off the coast of Equatorial Guinea and taking hostages, a spokesman for the navy said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. Six other suspects, who deny the charges, are still on trial.
Legislation approved in June 2019 sets out penalties for piracy, including life imprisonment.
The Gulf of Guinea in West Africa is currently the epicenter of global piracy, accounting for more than 90% of kidnappings for ransom that have taken place at sea this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.