Nigeria’s fight to protect its maritime waters in 2021 received a major boost as the International Maritime Bureau (IBM), reported that global piracy cases dropped to the lowest level since 1994. 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, with the Nigerian area recording only 4 related cases for the same period.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported this in its latest global piracy report in which it recorded 97 incidents of piracy and armed robbery for the first nine months of 2021.

They added that it was the lowest level of reported incidents since 1994, highlighting that in 2021, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 85 vessels boarded, nine attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon and one vessel hijacked.

What they said

“Reported incidents are down to their lowest level in decades, but violence against seafarers has continued with 51 crew kidnapped, eight taken hostage, five threatened, three injured, two assaulted and one killed, according to the latest IMB statistics.

“While the reduction of reported incidents is welcome, IMB PRC warns that seafarers must remain vigilant as violence against crew remains high in many areas of the world,” they said.

Gulf of Guinea

The report disclosed that the 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.

“Most notably, Nigeria only reported four incidents in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.

“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,” they added.

They urged that 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.

“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 Michael Howlett, Director, ICC International Maritime Bureau said.

“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,” he added.

What you should know

Nairametrics reported in July that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which has become the global epicentre for sea piracy fell to the lowest since Q2 2019, in the last quarter, published by the International Maritime Bureau.

The report disclosed that globally there were 68 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships – the lowest total since 1994 – down from 98 incidents during the same period last year.

Nairametrics also reported last month that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), praised efforts made by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the battle against maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guniea region this year so far, the Nigerian Navy was also praised for its efforts in combating piracy that had made the region the hotspot for piracy globally.

UNODC Nigeria rep, Oliver Stolpe said the recorded success so far was due to sustained and collective efforts of the regional and international Navies, regional organisations, as well as the National Maritime Security Agencies, and added the UNODC in Nigeria supports the process of ensuring that the maritime security strategy is in place and operational.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency also stated last month that piracy activities at Nigeria’s Gulf of Guinea waters have fallen by as much as 80% this year.