In its 2022 half year report, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has highlighted the reduction in piracy in the globe and expressed optimism that it is a new dawn for the shipping community globally.
This is coming on the heels of the Bureau receiving the lowest number of reported incidents during the period for the first time in 1994, an evidence of its efforts in raising awareness to make the waters safe globally.
The Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy has confirmed that there has not been any case of Seafarers kidnap one year after the May 2021 declaration. This is considered commendable progress in comparison to the 2020 statistics when 130 seafarers were kidnapped. The status report from the declaration also confirmed that there has not been any case of kidnap for ransom in 2022, as against 20 cases in 2020 and 12 in 2021.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh assured that Nigeria is committed to sustaining the momentum of the success recorded in recent times in the fight against piracy in the region. “It is heart-warming that the international maritime community is acknowledging the progress made so far. It is a direct result of collaboration amongst national, regional and non-regional stakeholders. It is our hope that this trend will be sustained and very soon, we will start reaping the benefits such as a change of status concerning the insurance premium paid on Nigerian bound cargoes; the war risk premium being paid at the moment. We hope this status will change very soon,” he said.
While commending the progress, Baltic and International Maritime Council, the world’s largest direct-membership organisation for ship-owners, charterers, shipbrokers and agents, called for the effective and full deployment of Deep Blue Assets on Anti-piracy tasking. Efforts of the Nigerian Navy in clamping down on pirates camps, the Deep Blue project and the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i). Other initiatives identified as key to the success in the war against piracy in the region are coastal surveillance and collaboration with international Navies for law enforcement off Nigerian waters, the series of meetings under the umbrella of the Gulf of Guinea maritime coordination forum and Shared Awareness and De-confliction.
IMB has already confirmed that no case of vessel hijack took place in Nigerian waters in the first half of 2022. The International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC) and IMB have confirmed that the period witnessed the least cases of piracy globally in 28 years with only 58 reported cases as compared to 68 within same period in 2021. Of the 58 incidents, two were classified as piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, with none of them occurring in Nigerian waters. While the reduction in reported incidents is indeed encouraging, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre continues to caution against complacency.
IMB Director, Michael Howlett said: “Not only is this good news for the seafarers and the shipping industry, it is positive news for trade which promotes economic growth. But the areas of risk shift and the shipping community must remain vigilant. We encourage governments and responding authorities to continue their patrols which create a deterrent effect”.