For the first time in 24 years, Nigeria recorded low pirate attacks on foreign vessels plying Nigeria waters according to International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a specialised department of the International Chamber of Commerce.
In its newly – released report for the first quarter of 2019, it showed an increased level of safety in the Nigerian maritime domain. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre said no vessel was reported hijacked in the period under review, marking the first time Nigeria had such record since the first quarter of 1994.
The report noted that in the first quarter of 2019, Nigeria experienced a decrease in reported piracy incidents, compared to the same period in 2018. The report further stated that there was a great improvement in the efforts to actively respond to incidents in the Nigerian Maritime Domain.
The IMB director, Pottengal Mukundan, disclosed that Nigeria was gaining advantage from coordinated responses to incidents via its maritime regulatory agency, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy. The director called for sustenance of the collaborative effort.
Pottengall stated, “These latest statistics from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre are encouraging. However, first quarter statistics should not be a basis to anticipate trends through the rest of the year, as it’s too short a period.
“It, nonetheless, confirms the importance of information sharing and coordinated action between the industry and response agencies. Going forward, it is critical to continue to build a more effective reporting structure to enable a strong, unified response when dealing with piracy incidents.”
Reacting to the report, the director-general of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, stated that the agency would continue to do all in its powers, within the ambit of the law, to ensure that piracy in Nigerian territorial waters was drastically reduced, if not eradicated.
Dakuku said the Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s recent approval of the Deep Blue Project, which is an all-encompassing maritime security architecture, was a clear demonstration of the fact that the President Muhammadu Buhari government was leaving no stone unturned in its determination to tackle the menace of piracy.
The DG stated, “This report by IMB is not a surprise because if you consider how seriously the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government is paying attention to maritime safety and security, which led to the approval of the Deep Blue Project geared towards tackling all illegalities in the maritime sector, you would understand that these are the best times to invest in maritime in Nigeria.”
Dakuku said the agency would continue to collaborate with the Nigerian armed forces, the police and other relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that Nigeria became a hub of maritime business in Africa.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, which is a 24-hour free service offered by the IMB, enables shipmasters to report any incidents of piracy, armed robbery or stowaway.
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