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By Adedapo Adesanya
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed that the Gulf of Guinea, once a notorious hub for maritime piracy, had the lowest number of reported incidents in the first half of the year since 1994.
The bureau revealed this in its 2022 semi-annual report, which coincided with the reduction in piracy around the world, which it says is evidence of its advocacy efforts to make waters safe globally. .
In a statement signed by Mr. Edward Osagie, Deputy Director of Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), IMB also expressed optimism that it was a new dawn for the maritime community around the world.
The Gulf of Guinea (GoG) Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy confirmed that there have been no cases of kidnapping of seafarers one year after the May 2021 declaration.
This is seen as commendable progress over 2020 statistics, when 130 sailors were abducted.
In the report, the Director of IMB, Mr. Michael Howlett, also confirmed that no cases of vessel hijacking took place in Nigerian waters during the first half of 2022.
“The ICC and the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) have confirmed that the first half of 2022 saw the fewest cases of piracy globally in 28 years with only 58 cases reported compared to 68 during 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 warn against complacency,” he said.
Mr Howlett said that this is not only good news for seafarers and the shipping industry, but also good news for trade which supports economic growth, but that areas of risk transfer and the maritime community must remain vigilant.
“We encourage governments and responding authorities to continue their patrols which create a deterrent effect,” he said.
The GoG statement status report also confirmed that there were no kidnap-for-ransom cases in 2022, compared to 20 cases in 2020 and 12 in 2021.
Responding to the report, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr. Bashir Jamoh, said Nigeria was determined to maintain the momentum of recent success in the fight against piracy in the region.
“It is heartening that the international maritime community recognizes the progress made so far. It is the direct result of collaboration between national, regional and non-regional stakeholders.
“We hope this trend will continue and very soon we will start reaping the benefits, such as a change in the status of insurance premium paid on shipments to Nigeria; the war risk premium being paid at this time.
“We hope that status will change very soon,” he said.
Mr. Jamoh said the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the world’s largest direct membership organization for ship owners, charterers, ship brokers and agents, has called for the effective and comprehensive deployment of Deep Blue Assets on the fight against piracy.
“Key to success in the war against piracy lies in the Nigerian Navy’s efforts to suppress pirate camps, the Deep Blue C4i coastal surveillance project and collaboration with international navies for offshore law enforcement. Nigerian waters.
“Others are the series of meetings under the aegis of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Coordination Forum, Shared Awareness and DEconfliction, GoG/SHADE,” Jamoh said quoting BIMCO.