Since the deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as the Deep Blue Project by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 10, 2021, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), and the nation’s coastal water has gone down drastically.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), in its latest report said piracy and armed robbery attacks on Nigerian waters fell 77 per cent in the first nine months of 2021, when compared to the same period in 2020.
IMB is a specialised division of the International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC) established in 1981 to act as a focal point in the fight against all types of maritime crimes and malpractices. According to the Bureau’s report, the entire Gulf of Guinea witnessed a similar decline in criminal activities with only 28 incidents reported compared to 46 last year.
“The Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 46 for the same period in 2020,” the report said. “Most notably, Nigeria only reported four incidents in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.”
The report said crew kidnappings in the region also dropped with only one crew member kidnapped in the third quarter of 2021, compared to 31 crew members taken in five separate incidents during the same quarter in 2020.
However, the director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh who welcomed the recent drop in piracy in GoG, said the latest figures was as a result of the launch of the Deep Blue Project, on June 10 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Jamoh said the agency had put in place measures to sustain the current momentum of security in the country’s waters.
“We are delighted by this latest news from the IMB and the trend of progressive reduction in piracy and related incidents on our waters,” he said.
“But we cannot afford to be complacent about our commitment to the security of our maritime domain,” he said.
In a chat with the chairman, Steering Committee, Nigeria Ship owners’ Association (NISA), Tunji Brown, he notes that 77 per cent reduction in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea should be maintained.
According to him, accurate manpower development is key to sustaining piracy reductions in the Gulf of Guinea.
“That piracy has gone down significantly by 77 per cent in the Gulf of Guinea has shown that the Deep Blue Project is working, but can we maintain the momentum? Can we sustain the reduction? We need accurate manpower development to sustain this reduction and the political will to sustain it is very important,” he said.