Maritime Security: Nigeria records 77% reduction in piracy
David Adekunle, Lagos
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported a 77% decrease in piracy and armed robbery in Nigerian waters in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Nigeria reported four incidents in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.
This represents 77 per cent decrease in incidents between 2021 and 2020, and 95 per cent reduction from 2018.
IMB also reported 39 per cent reduction in piracy and armed robbery incidents in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
The latest figures came on the back of the launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, on June 10 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The piracy reporting agency explained that “Crew kidnappings in the region have dropped with only one crew member kidnapped in Q3 2021, compared to 31 crew members taken in five separate incidents during Q3 2020. All Q3 incidents in 2021 were also against vessels at port anchorages whilst the average successful kidnapping location in Q3 2020 was approximately 100NM from land.”
According to IMB, “the overall reduction of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region is a testament to enhanced maritime security and response coordination measures adopted by regional and national authorities.”
Michael Howlett, IMB Director commended the efforts of the maritime authorities in the region and called for sustained efforts “to ensure the continued safety of seafarers as they transport essential goods throughout the region. Coastal States must redouble their coordination and security measures to ensure that piracy and armed robbery incidents continue to decline.”
Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, said the Agency had put in place measures to sustain the current momentum of security in the country’s waters.
“We are delighted by this latest news from the IMB and the trend of progressive reduction in piracy and related incidents in our waters, but we cannot afford to be complacent about our commitment to the security of our maritime domain. We will continue to strive for more effective measures to keep Nigerian waters safe and secure,” Jamoh said
Recall that the Deep Blue Project is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Federal Ministry of Defence, being implemented by NIMASA, with personnel drawn from the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, and other security agencies.