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Maritime Security: Nigeria Records Lowest Level Of Piracy Since 1994, As Deep Blue Project Comes On Stream

The downward trend in piracy and armed robbery in Nigerian waters has continued, with the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reporting a 77% decline in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year in its third quarter 2021 account.

In the first nine months of 2021, Nigeria recorded four events, compared to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.

According to Osagie Edward, Assistant Director, Public Relations, NIMASA, this indicates a 77% drop in incidents between 2021 and 2020, and a 95% reduction from 2018.

In the Gulf of Guinea, the IMB recorded a 39% drop in pirate and armed robbery events (GoG).

The latest results follow President Muhammadu Buhari’s June 10 announcement of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, better known as the Deep Blue Project.

“In the first nine months of 2021, the Gulf of Guinea region registered 28 occurrences of piracy and armed robbery, compared to 46 for the same period in 2020,” according to the IMB.

The piracy reporting agency explained, “Crew kidnappings in the region have dropped with only one crew member kidnapped in Q3 2021, compared to 31 crew members taken in five separate incidents during Q3 2020. All Q3 incidents in 2021 were also against vessels at port anchorages whilst the average successful kidnapping location in Q3 2020 was approximately 100NM from land.”

According to IMB, “The overall reduction of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region is a testament to enhanced maritime security and response coordination measures adopted by regional and national authorities.”

It called for the sustenance of the current momentum.

“We welcome the decrease of piracy and armed robbery attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and the efforts taken by maritime authorities in the region,” said IMB Director, Michael Howlett. “However, there needs to be sustained efforts to ensure the continued safety of seafarers as they transport essential goods throughout the region. Coastal States must redouble their coordination and security measures to ensure that piracy and armed robbery incidents continue to decline.”

Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir 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 in our waters, but we cannot afford to be complacent about our commitment to the security of our maritime domain,” Jamoh said. “We will continue to strive for more effective measures to keep Nigerian waters safe and secure.”

The Deep Blue Project is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Federal Ministry of Defence, being implemented by NIMASA, with personnel drawn from the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, and other security agencies.

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