Unabated pirate attacks on Nigeria-bound vessels has underscore continued maritime security failings in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), LEADERSHIP has learnt.
The attacks continued unabated despite several initiatives by the Nigerian Navy to tackle piracy in recent years.
Recently, the region has seen a significant uptick in attacks in recent weeks, with vessels being attacked further west of Nigeria, indicative of the dynamic nature of piracy in the region. For instance, on 22nd of March, an unspecified number of pirates on a speedboat hijacked two fishing vessels 23 nm south of Lagos Port.
The pirates boarded the vessels and sailed to Benin waters, before returning the vessels while abducting two crew members. On the same day, another merchant vessel reported that it came under attack from two speedboats 53 nm southwest of Bonny at 2348 hours local time.
However, shipping expert, Dr Kofi Mbia has stated that the surge in pirate activities could have a wrong impact on commercial trading in the shipping industry as it would affect the climate of confidence in trade and influence the rise in insurance premiums.
Mbia, a former chief executive officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) warned of high insurance premiums over high pirate attacks. “When your coast is infested with pirates then there is the tendency for insurance premiums to go up for vessels that are calling at your port because of the threat to the vessels and at the same time it affects the climate of confidence in trade.
“Vessels must be able to move freely and navigate to and out of the port but whenever there are increase pirate attacks, there is the tendency for some vessels not to call on some particular ports because of fear of attack so indeed it affects commercial trading,” he said.
But, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), predicted cooperation amongst various government agencies as key to achieving maximum maritime security enforcement.
This was the theme running through the latest national table-top exercise on maritime security, held in Lagos.
Representatives from various government agencies which form the national implementation committee for the International ship and Port Facilities Security (ISPS) Code participated in the workshop.