Boat operators and fishermen in Ibaka, Akwa Ibom, have decried the increasing rate of piracy around the Calabar creeks.
The operators and traders told journalists in the Ibaka riverine community that attacks on boats and vessels have become a major challenge in their businesses.
It was gathered that the development had led to a hike in water transportation charges as the operators claim to be operating under risks.
One of the boat operators, Ime Etim, told journalists that piracy was hampering effective water transportation in the area.
“If pirates attack us, we give them money. Sometimes, they seize our boats or the goods of the traders,” Etim said.
Another boat operator, Wisdom Ekpo, corroborated Etims’ claim, saying that pirates not only seized boats, but sometimes killed the passengers onboard.
A fish trader who simply identified herself as Joan said that boat owners have increased their fares because of the activities of the pirates.
“Before now, we paid between N400 and N500 within the Calabar creeks but now, we pay N1,200 per trip.”
She said the activities of the pirates were affecting the cost of doing business in the area leading to increase in the price of fish.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY was reliably informed that vessels navigating within the Calabar creeks, around 40 nautical miles from the Fairway Buoy, up to the Calabar Port, have been operating in fear.
The source said that reports of attacks on vessels and boats around the port have increased in recent times. According to the source, who pleaded anonymity, there are several islands around the passage leading to the port.
These islands, the source said, served as hideouts for militants who carried out illegal operations on the water.
“The problem with the passage is that there are several islands, like Parrot Island and Snake Island, where militants use to hide. Even ordinary boats crossing the islands have increased their fares because of the activities of pirates,” he said.
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