A report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has given credence to Nigeria’s efforts in combating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
Director- general , Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, said this in statement by the assistant director , public relations of the agency, Mr Edward Osagie in Lagos yesterday.
Jamoh said the report also gave credence to the Integrated national security and waterways protection infrastructure also called the deep blue project of the federal government of Nigeria.
“This was contained in IMO’s recently released second Quarter (Q2) report on the global reduction of piracy in 27 years in Nigeria, including the GoG region.
“The report notes that the number of kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea in the second quarter of 2021 is the lowest since Q2 of 2019.
“While 33 incidents of piracy were reported in the last quater of 2020, six cases were reported in the second quarter of 2021,” said Jamoh.
He said the IMB report also noted that the number of kidnapped crew in the region also declined from 50 in the last quater of 2020 to 10 in the second quarter.
He noted that whilst IMB welcomed the reduced piracy and armed robbery activity in the Gulf of Guinea, Michael Howlett, a director at IMB, commended the efforts of the federal government of Nigeria to tackle the challenge of piracy in the region.
He added that the report noted that reporting all incidents to the regional authorities and IMB PRC would ensure seafarers maintained pressure against pirates.
“Bringing together maritime response authorities through initiatives – like Nigeria’s deep blue project and Gulf of Guinea maritime collaboration forum will continue and strengthen knowledge sharing channels and reduce risk to seafarers in the region,” he said.
Jamoh described the IMB report as a welcome development and also gave the assurance that the agency would not rest on it oars in ensuring zero tolerance for piracy in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
While ascribing the feat to the concerted efforts of the GoG countries, the NIMASA DG called for a more holistic approach in quelling the incidences of piracy in the region.
“Matters concerning maritime security is everybody’s business as no country has immunity against insecurity and piracy related offences.
Crime is usually a step ahead of every organised society, hence the need to step up our game through continuous synergy and enhanced information sharing in the West and Central Africa sub-region,” Jamoh said.
He further observed that with consistent reduction of criminal cases in the region, Nigeria would be engaging the international maritime community in the near future with the intention of removing the war risk premium charged on vessels calling Nigerian ports.
It will be recalled that on June 10, the President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the deep blue assets geared towards deterring all forms of illegalities on the nation’s territorial waters.
This is in addition to the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act signed into law on June 24, 2019 to prosecute and punish criminalities.