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Hope rises as piracy declines in Gulf of Guinea

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The effort of Federal Government in combating maritime crimes on waters may have begun to yield results, as the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), in its latest report, revealed a drastic reduction in the rate of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The report said that piracy in the region dropped from 33 incidents in the last quarter of 2020 to six in the second quarter of 2021. IMB said the development gave credence to Nigeria’s efforts in combating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, including the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure also called the Deep Blue Project.

The IMB second quarter (Q2) 2021 report on the global reduction of piracy in 27 years in Nigeria, including the Gulf of Guinea region, stated that “the number of kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea in the second quarter of 2021 is the lowest since Q2 of 2019.

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“While 33 incidents of piracy were reported in the last quarter of 2020, six cases were reported in the second quarter of 2021. The IMB report also noted that the number of kidnapped crew in the region also declined from 50 in the last quarter of 2020 to 10 in the second quarter of 2021.”

Director at IMB, Michael Howlett, said while it welcomes reduced piracy and armed robbery activity in the Gulf of Guinea, the IMB commended efforts by the Federal Government of Nigeria to tackle the challenge of piracy in the region, adding that reporting all incidents to the Regional Authorities and IMB PRC will ensure seafarers maintain 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.

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Director-General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh described the IMB report as a welcome development and also gave the assurance that the agency would not rest on its oars in ensuring zero tolerance for piracy in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea is achieved.

While ascribing the feat to the concerted efforts put in place by the Gulf of Guinea countries, the NIMASA boss called for a more holistic approach in quelling the incidences of piracy in the region.

“Matters concerning maritime security are 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 a consistent reduction of criminal cases in the region, Nigeria would be engaging the international maritime community to remove the War Risk Premium charged on vessels calling Nigerian ports.

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