Nigeria records drop in piracy incidents in Q1 2019 – IMB

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Illustrative picture. PHOTO CREDIT: SHIPS & PORTS archive

Nigeria recorded a drop in reported piracy incidents at sea in the first three months of 2019, the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) has said.

Nigeria has been a hotspot for piracy incidents over the past decade but the West African country reported 14 incidents of piracy for the first quarter of this year compared to 22 incidents reported in the first quarter of 2018, according to the IMB report.

The report attributed the decline to Nigerian Navy’s increased efforts to “actively respond to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats.”

However, Nigerian waters remain risky for vessels, especially the port of Lagos where four incidents have been reported, despite the efforts of the navy.

The bureau in the report disclosed that global piracy and armed robbery incidents decreased 42.4 percent in the review period with 38 incidents as against 66 incidents recorded in the corresponding period last year.

IMB detailed that 27 vessels were boarded, seven vessels were fired upon and four attempted attacks occurred in the first quarter of 2019.

The report noted that no vessels were reported as hijacked for the first time since the first quarter of 1994.

“These latest statistics from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre are encouraging. However, first quarter statistics is too short a period on which to anticipate trends over the year,” IMB Director, Pottengal Mukundan, said.

The Gulf of Guinea represented a high number of piracy and armed robbery attacks at sea, with 22 incidents reported in the first quarter of 2019.

The region also accounted for all of the worldwide crew kidnappings as 21 crew members were kidnapped across five separate incidents. Incidents were reported in the coastal countries of Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo in the first quarter of 2019.

In Asia, Indonesia witnessed a drop in piracy activities for the first quarter of 2019. There were only three incidents reported against anchored vessels in ports in Indonesia – the fewest reported incidents since 2010 – according to the report.

As with Nigeria, increased cooperation and information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has enabled regular patrols in high-risk areas.

The declining rate of piracy incidents worldwide in the first quarter of 2019 reinforces the importance of transparency, communication and coordination between vessels and coastal authorities, IMB stressed.

By reporting all incidents to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre and coastal authorities, the response can be better organized improving incident response times and prompt advice to vessels aimed at more optimal use of resources. National governments and coastal authorities can use this data to collaborate and strengthen their piracy prevention efforts, IMB further said.