Nigeria spends $370m to combat piracy

Nigeria’s maritime industry in 2015 spent about $370m to combat piracy and provide security services, a report by Oceans beyond Piracy has revealed.

The amount is said to include costs spent by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency at $218m; and public-private partnership which operate security escorts at $7.29m, patrol vessels at $136.8m and secure zones at $8.2m.

The amount included $218m spent by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and $152.29m incurred by private security firms on security escorts ($7.29m), patrol vessels ($136.8m) and guarding the secure zones ($8.2m).

The OBP, an independent non-profit organisation, said, “While most regional navies serve a dual naval and coastguard functions, NIMASA is tasked with working alongside the Nigerian Navy to combat piracy.

“In fact, NIMASA’s 2015 budget of $726m was nearly double the Navy’s $379m. It is estimated that about 30 per cent of those funds are dedicated to maritime safety and security, implying around $218m spent on counter-piracy efforts.”

It said several small fleets of escort vessels run by private companies bolstered the Navy and NIMASA’s capacity. These escort vessels were said to provide security to ships in transit to and from Nigeria, between secure zones and ports, and to riverine ports such as Warri, Onne and Port Harcourt.

The vessels were said to provide a near-constant security presence, particularly around oil production infrastructure.

About 32 vessels were reportedly active in providing escorts, conducting patrols and protecting secure areas. The operational cost for these privately-run vessels was estimated at $136.8m for 2015.

In addition, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria have established secure zones near major ports.

The report said, “These are clearly demarcated areas where vessels can safely anchor to wait for a berth or conduct ship-to-ship cargo transfers.

“In Nigeria, a private company provides the physical ships, maintenance, and logistics, and performs all scheduling and billing of clients, while the armed forces supply the security personnel and weaponry. The estimated cost of operating these zones in 2015 has been put at $8.2m.”

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