According to a report over the weekend in Nigeria’s leading daily newspaper This Day, the Chief of the Nigerian Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, has revealed that Nigeria and other countries in the Gulf of Guinea are currently losing a sum of $2 billion to pirate attacks annually. Speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria (MASPAN) in Lagos, he went on to say “More disturbing is the fact that many of the illicit acts at sea are directed at the economic lifeline of the nation, with negative impact on development and wellbeing of our citizens.”
The Naval Chief’s revelation was coming two months after Nigeria was rated as number one in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea in a report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
The report stated that seas around West Africa remain the world’s most dangerous for piracy.
Of the 75 seafarers taken hostage onboard or kidnapped for ransom worldwide so far this year, 62 were captured in the Gulf of Guinea – off the coasts of Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, Nigeria and Togo. Worldwide, the International Chamber of Commerce’s IMB Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 78 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first half of 2019, compared with 107 incidents for the same period of 2018. Overall, 57 vessels were boarded successfully, representing 73% of all attacks.
Pirates killed one person, took 38 crewmembers hostage, and kidnapped a further 37 for ransom.
The IMB report reveals 73% of all kidnappings at sea, and 92% of hostage-takings, took place in the Gulf of Guinea. Armed pirates in these high-risk waters kidnapped 27 crewmembers in the first half of 2019 and 25 in the same period in 2018. Two chemical tankers were hijacked, as well as a tug that was then used in another attack. Of the nine vessels fired upon worldwide, eight were off the coast of Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer. These attacks took place on average 65 nautical miles off the coast – meaning they are classified as acts of piracy.
To read the full report.