The United States says piracy and armed robbery are increasing at an alarming rate in the Gulf of Guinea, pointing to two reports by industry experts of at least 32 attacks off the coast of Nigeria alone so far this year.

U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison singled out two pirate attacks off the Nigerian coast on April 11 that led to the apparent kidnapping of a total of eight crew members including the captain of one vessel, a Turkish cargo ship.

She told a U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday that "the economic consequences for the people of the region are devastating," pointing to a report by the London think-tank Chatham House saying as much as 400,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen every day in the Gulf of Guinea.