Gulf of Guinea Records Lowest Piracy Incidents in 28 Years
By Adedapo Adesanya
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has disclosed that the Gulf of Guinea, once a notorious hub for sea piracy, has recorded the lowest number of reported incidents for the first half of the year since 1994.
The bureau disclosed this in its half-year report of 2022 which coincided with the reduction in piracy around the globe, which it notes is evidence of its efforts in raising awareness to make the waters safe globally.
In a statement signed by Mr Edward Osagie, Assistant Director, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the IMB also expressed optimism that it was a new dawn for the shipping community globally.
The Gulf of Guinea Declaration (GoG) on Suppression of Piracy has confirmed that there has not been any case of Seafarers kidnap one year after the May 2021 declaration.
This is considered commendable progress in comparison to the 2020 statistics when 130 seafarers were kidnapped.
In the report, IMB Director, Mr Michael Howlett, also confirmed that no case of vessel hijack took place on Nigerian waters in the first half of 2022.
“The ICC and International Maritime Bureau (IMB) have confirmed that the first half of 2022 witnessed the least cases of piracy globally in 28 years with only 58 reported cases as compared to 68 within the same period in 2021.
“Of the 58 incidents, two were classified as piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, with none of them occurring in Nigerian waters. While the reduction in reported incidents is indeed encouraging, the IMB PRC continues to caution against complacency,” he said.
Mr Howlett said that not only was this good news for the seafarers and the shipping industry, it was positive news for trade which promotes economic growth but the areas of risk shift and the shipping community must remain vigilant.
“We encourage governments and responding authorities to continue their patrols which create a deterrent effect,” he said.
The status report from the GoG declaration also confirmed that there had not been any case of kidnap for ransom in 2022, as against 20 cases in 2020 and 12 in 2021.
Responding to the report, the Director-General of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, said that Nigeria was committed to sustaining the momentum of the success recorded in recent times in the fight against piracy in the region.
“It is heart-warming that the international maritime community is acknowledging the progress made so far. It is a direct result of collaboration amongst national, regional and non-regional stakeholders.
“It is our hope that this trend will be sustained and very soon, we will start reaping the benefits such as a change of status concerning the Insurance premium paid on Nigerian bound cargoes; the War Riskpremium being paid at the moment.
“We hope this status will change very soon,” he said.
Mr Jamoh said that the Baltic and International Maritime Council, (BIMCO), the world’s largest direct-membership organisation for ship-owners, charterers, shipbrokers, and agents called for the effective and full deployment of Deep Blue Assets on Anti-piracy tasking.
“Key to the successes in the war against piracy are efforts of the Nigerian Navy in clamping down on pirates camps, the Deep Blue project C4i coastal surveillance and collaboration with international Navies for law enforcement off Nigerian waters.
“Others are the series of meetings under the umbrella of the Gulf of Guinea maritime coordination Forum, Shared Awareness and DEconfliction, GoG/SHADE,” Mr Jamoh quoted BIMCO as saying.