The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has again praised the Nigerian Deep Blue Project and other national and Gulf of Guinea regional authorities over the falling piracy in the region as it said that in the first nine months of the year, only 28 incidents were reported in the region, while only four occurred in the Nigerian waters during that period in 2021.
The global maritime watchdog in its third quarter report released on Thursday, however urged Nigeria and other national maritime authorities in the Gulf of Guinea to be very cautious as we enter the dry season and be more vigilant than ever.
It stated that sustaining the progress made to date is going to be key to the overall success of eliminating piracy & armed robbery in the region.
According to the report, GoG 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.
“Most notably, Nigeria only reported four incidents in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018,” the report noted.
It further said that 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 disclosed that all Q3 incidents in 2021 were also against vessels at port anchorages whilst the average successful kidnapping location in Q3 2020 was approximately 100 nautical miles from land.
IMB noted that 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.
Despite these gains, IMB warns that the risk to crew remains high in the region and that such efforts must therefore be sustained.
Reacting to the report, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh expressed the commitment of the Agency to ensuring safe and secure territorial waters for vessels and crew.
He thanked all the security agencies in the country, especially the Navy for the synergy and collaboration existing between them and NIMASA in the fight against piracy and other criminalities in the nation’s maritime domain.