Nigeria’s Waters Infested with Pirates, Worse Than Somalia
The Global Maritime report on Piracy had declared Nigeria’s waters as unsafe as and worse than Somalia. The report revealed that the number of pirates attack in Nigeria’s waters increased in the second quarter of 2018 putting Nigeria in the first spot of dangerous waters for seagoing vessels.
The first six months of 2018 witnessed a significant rise in the number of recorded piracy and armed robbery incidents in the Gulf of Guinea compared to the same period in 2017.
107 incidents were recorded in the first six months of 2018 against 87 recorded in the first half of 2017.
31 incidents were recorded in Nigeria’s waters in the first half of 2018 with 46 pirates attack in the Gulf of Guinea as a whole.
According to the report, Nigeria, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Venezuela and Benin Republic led the table in the number of attempted attacks, number of vessels boarded by pirates, number of vessels fired upon, number of hijacked vessels and number of suspicious boats operated by pirates.
While Nigeria recorded 31 attacks, Indonesia recorded 25, Bangladesh and Venezuela recorded 7 attacks each while Republic of Benin and Ghana recorded 5 attacks apiece.
According to the report, Bulk carriers suffered the most in the attacks against vessels as 39 of such vessels have been attacked since the beginning of the year closely followed by Tanker vessels which recorded 30 attacks in the first six months of the year; passenger vessels have recorded only one attack this year.
In Nigeria, recorded pirates attack on anchored vessels was 14 followed by Indonesia with 11 and Bangladesh with 7 recorded attacks so far.
Captain Jacob, Ovweghre, Director General of the proposed Maritime Security Agency, MASECA, said that the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA are already over burdened with the problem of checkmating pirates at sea.
Ovweghre further disclosed that some of the pirates were not Nigerians but Nationals of Cameroon and Ghana as well as criminals from other neighbouring countries.
Contrary to the report however, Chairman of the Port Facility Security Officers, PFSO, Forum, Dr. Ignatius Uche, said that the measures put in place by the relevant authorities to checkmate the spate of pirate attacks were yielding positive results as there has been a downward trend in attacks on vessels.
Recorded Pirates attack across the world revealed that100 crew members were taken hostage while 14 others were kidnapped from their vessels in the first three months of 2018. A total of 39 vessels were boarded, 11 fired upon and four vessels hijacked attacks.
The report also revealed that the number of crew kidnappings has decreased globally from 41 in the first quarter of 2017 to 25 in the first quarter of 2018.
However, all 25 crew kidnappings reported this year are from six incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Nigeria, further emphasizing the higher maritime risks in this region.