Contrary to NIMASA’s claim, IMB says foreign efforts responsible for drop in GoG piracy 

 

Nigeria records 27 attacks on ships at port anchorage

 

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has attributed the reduction of piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea to the presence of foreign navies in the region. 

This assertion by IMB is contrary to the claim by Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh.

Jamoh, who never acknowledges the presence of foreign navies or the availability of foreign aids to fight piracy in the region, claims that the controversial USD195million deep blue project initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation but paid for by NIMASA, is responsible for the decline in Gulf of Guinea piracy. 

SHIPS & PORTS reports that some foreign countries and the European Union have deployed naval missions to stem incessant attacks against merchant ships in the Gulf of Guinea. Some of the missions include the U.S. Africa Command International Maritime Exercise in the Gulf of Guinea, the deployment of a warship by Denmark and the creation of the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) in the Gulf of Guinea by the European Union. 

The U.S. Africa Command conducts an annual exercise named ‘Obangame Express’ to counter malign influence, aggression, activity and base establishment in Gulf of Guinea Economic Exclusion Zones and West African coastal regions. The EU Coordinated Maritime Presences, which was launched in 2021, mandates countries like France, Italy, Portugal and Spain to take turns to deploy warships in the region. 

In November 2021, the Danish naval patrol killed four pirates in an exchange of fire in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Nigeria, according to a statement by Denmark’s armed forces. The incident occurred on Wednesday November 24, 2021 when the frigate Esbern Snare, attempted to board the pirate boat. After the shooting, the pirate ship sank and the eight pirates were arrested. 

IMB, in a statement, said the increase in presence of international naval patrol has led to a reduction in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.

“The IMB commends the robust actions of the international navies and regional authorities in the Gulf of Guinea, which appears to have positively contributed to the drop in reported incidents and ensuring continued safety to crews and trade,” IMB Director, Michael Howlett, said. 

Howlett noted that despite the reduction, the Gulf of Guinea continued to account for all kidnapping incidents globally, with 57 crew taken in seven separate incidents in 2021. 

He said IMB remains committed to actively engaging and exchanging information with coastal states to promote safety for seafarers and trade.

“While the IMB applauds these actions it further calls on the coastal states of the Gulf of Guinea to increase their collaboration and physical presence in their waters to ensure a long term and sustainable solution to address the crime of piracy and armed robbery in the region,” Howlett said.
Howlett also said that the European Union has announced funding for a USD1.72million training programme to improve the safety of vessels in the Gulf of Guinea.



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