The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is planning a massive security upgrade on Nigerian waters and Gulf of Guinea through the launch of its deep blue project.
NIMASA spokesman, Philip Kyanet, said the official inauguration of the long awaited deep blue project would hold before the end of May.
He said the project focuses on the security of the Gulf of Guinea, which has become the world’s piracy hotspot.
Recently, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said the Gulf of Guinea remains the world’s piracy hotspot.
In its 2021 first quarter report, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre listed Apapa in Lagos, Brass in Bayelsa and Bonny Island in Port-Harcourt as high-risk waterways.
“Nigeria (Lagos-Apapa, Off Bayelsa-Brass, and Bonny Island-Port Harcourt): Pirates/robbers are often well armed and violent. They have attacked, hijacked, robbed ships and kidnapped crews along far from the coast rivers, anchorages ports, and surrounding waters.
“Incidents have also been reported up to about 200 nautical miles from the coast. Generally, all waters in or off Nigeria remain highly risky. Vessels are advised to be vigilant as many incidents may also have gone unreported; kidnapping for ransom remains the biggest risk for crews. Vessels are advised to take additional measures in these high-risk waters. In the past, tankers were also hijacked and part cargo stolen (gas oil),” it said.
“Thirty-eight incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in the first three months of 2021, compared with 47 incidents in Q1 2020.
“The Q1 2021 figures are broken down as 33 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon and one vessel hijacked.
“Violence against crews continues with 40 crew kidnapped, two each threatened and taken hostage and one killed,” IMB Piracy Reporting Centre added.