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Shipping crimes drop in Nigeria, others

By Sulaimon Salau   |   19 October 2016   |   3:19 am
 United States Coast Guard assisting to rescue a seized ship.

United States Coast Guard assisting to rescue a seized ship.

There is apparently a positive outlook in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and other hot spots across the globe, as reports confirmed relative peace being enjoyed in some maritime crime prone routes including Nigeria.

The Guradian reported recently that the nation’s fight against piracy is yielding positive results. This has been further lent credence by new data released by the United Kingdom Maritime Intelligence and Operations Company, Dryad Maritime, which also showed that there has been a drastic reduction in the number of attacks in the Nigerian territorial waters.

Specifically, the Dryad report indicated that the Gulf of Guinea, South East Asia and The Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) have all experienced significant reductions in reported maritime crimes throughout July, August and September this year.

It stated: “In the Gulf of Guinea and within Nigeria’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) there has been a decrease in the frequency of attacks with a total of just four attacks against commercial shipping at sea off the Niger Delta since early July, this compares to 36 in the first six months of the year,”

Chief Operating Officer, Dryad Maritime, Ian Millen, said: “We have cause for some optimism on piracy and maritime crime, with a generally stable and improving situation in some areas balanced against some serious cause for concern in others,”

He added that in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, Somali piracy remains broadly contained and in Southeast Asia, piracy is at its lowest level since 2009, with a 65 per cent reduction when compared to this time last year.

“The bad news, however, is that 81 people have been kidnapped, seven have been killed and 61 remain in captivity,” Millen said.

Dryad Maritime also reported that beyond piracy and maritime crime, the maritime domain poses other threats.

Millen said that, from conflict situations ashore in Libya and Yemen, to the threat of anti-ship missiles in busy shipping lanes, as evidenced by recent incidents in the southern Red Sea, “seafarers continue to trade and transit in some dangerous waters,” while the continuing humanitarian crisis of Mediterranean migration puts other pressures on the shipping industry and its seafarers.

The Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) had recently revealed that incidences of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa, have been decreasing.

The OBP working group meeting noted that the upturn in kidnapping for ransom incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in the last quarter of 2015, and the first quarter of 2016 have reduced through a combination of increased patrols by the Nigerian Navy, increased use of contracted security and a refocus of attacks away from piracy at sea and more towards inland infrastructure.

Nigeria is estimated to be losing about $1.5 billion monthly to piracy, armed robbery at sea, smuggling, and fuel supply fraud as piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea.

The UN Security Council earlier said: “The absence of an effective maritime governance system, in particular, hampers freedom of movement in the region, disrupts trade and economic growth, and facilitates environmental crimes,” she stressed.

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