- Some components of the Deep Blue assets on parade
By Anthony Nwachukwu
Following the account of the lowest number of reported incidents for the first half of the year since 1994, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has commended the global reduction in piracy and expressed optimism for a new dawn for the shipping community.
The IMB, in its half-year report of 2022, noted that the situation evidenced its efforts in raising awareness to make the waters safe globally, just as the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on Suppression of Piracy has confirmed that there has not been any case of seafarer kidnap one year after the May 2021 declaration.
This is considered a commendable progress compared to the 2020 statistics, which showed that 130 seafarers were kidnapped. The status report from the GoG declaration also confirmed zero case of kidnap-for-ransom in 2022, as against the reported 20 cases in 2020 and 12 in 2021.
Against this background, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, assured of Nigeria’s commitment 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 among national, regional and non-regional stakeholders,” a statement from the Head of Public Relations, Mr. Edward Osagie, cited Jamoh to say.
“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 Nigeria-bound cargoes – the war risk premium being paid at the moment. We hope this status will change very soon.”
Commending the progress, Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), which is 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 task.
Listed as key to the success in the war against piracy in the region was the efforts of the Nigerian Navy in clamping down on pirates’ camps.
Others included the Deep Blue project’s C4i coastal surveillance and collaboration with international navies on law enforcement off Nigerian waters, and the series of meetings under the umbrella of the Gulf of Guinea maritime coordination forum, Shared Awareness and De-confliction, GoG/SHADE.
On its part, the IMB has also confirmed a no-case of vessel hijack in Nigerian waters in the first half of 2022 and, alongside the ICC, confirmed that the first half of 2022 witnessed the least cases of piracy globally in 28 years, with only 58 reported cases as compared to 68 in the same period in 2021.
Of the 58 incidents, two were classified as piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, with none occurring in Nigerian waters. While the reduction in reported incidents is encouraging, the IMB PRC has cautioned against complacency.
The IMB Director, Michael Howlett, while describing the development as not only good news for the seafarers and the shipping industry but also positive news for trade which promotes economic growth, warned that “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.”