The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Tuesday said Nigeria recorded 27 incidents of armed attack and piracy against vessels at port anchorages in the third quarter of the year.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh disclosed this at the International Maritime Week (LIMWeek) 2021 with the theme: ‘Seafarers and Maritime Capacity at the Core of Africa’s Shipping Future’.
Jamoh was speaking during a maritime security roundtable on the topic, “Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea”.
He said the agency would be meeting with the Inspector General of Police to discuss the performance of the marine police and ensure things would be put on ground for them to complement the Navy.
He noted that the impact of armed and piracy attack both at the anchorage and the Gulf of Guinea was devastating on seafarers’ and shipping activities.
“There has been decline in piracy attack in the Gulf of Guinea, as the region recorded 28 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 46 for the same period in 2020.
“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.
“It impacted the seafarers and shipping economically such as loss of revenue due to illegal activities, high insurance premium, threat to commerce; socially such as arm and drug smuggling, kidnapping, restiveness and others.
“The environmental impact are destruction and pollution of the marine ecosystem which leads to loss of livelihood,” he said.
The NIMASA DG said that interventions had been introduced through a multidimensional approach to address the situation such as having legal/legislative which are the passage of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offenses Act (SPOMO Act), review of local laws, others.
He listed other interventions as introducing of a joint initiative by the Federal Ministry of Defense and Federal Ministry of Transportation, FMOT, to push out the Deep Blue project, effective enforcement of port and flag state, capacity building programme by FMOT and NIMASA.
Mr Jamoh noted that Nigeria had a comparative advantage that should be harnessed to make the country attractive such as biggest economy and most populous nation within the region, accounts for over 65 per cent of cargo generated within the region.
Others he listed as huge deposit of oil and gas reserve making it a place of interest for international energy dynamics Geo-strategically located.