HomeNewsNIMASA denounces maritime crime on its waterways
According to NIMASA’s Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said with the world’s waters account for more than 80% of transportation requirements in the global trading supply chain network, the risk of piracy, armed robbery and other maritime crimes remain a significant concern.
Mr. Peterside added that the Gulf of Guinea has been at the centre of maritime security discussions, due to piracy incidents in the area. As he explained, maritime security has been further compromised by lack of legislation.
Specifically, he said that the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offenses Act, provides a a robust and detailed framework for the criminalization and punishment of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea in general. He noted however that further discussion for judges will facilitate an understanding of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offenses Act.
In addition, participants must be equipped with the essential knowledge
regarding the requirement of Nigeria’s obligations under the Act. Such
discussion will also adopt interaction between the judiciary and enforcement
officers to share ideas on potential challenges.
For his part, Director-General of NIALS, Prof. Mohammed Ladan, said the
seminar theme is crucial because of the proposed, first stand-alone Anti-sea
Piracy and maritime crimes law in the Gulf of Guinea. This aims to tackle sea
piracy and armed robbery; activities that damage sustainable economic growth.
As he explained, West Africa and its trading partners lost around $2.3
billion to maritime crimes between 2016 and 2018, or about $777 million between
2015 and 2018, without considering the most important factor: human cost.
In its most recent piracy report, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB)
highlighted that West Africa and particularly Gulf of Guinea have experienced a
record high in piracy incidents, as the number of crew kidnapped in the Gulf of
Guinea increased more than 50% from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019.
The country remains a hot spot for pirates, as many are the incidents taking
place. The Club alerts that ships should take all appropriate means to prevent unauthorized
persons boarding either at sea, at the anchorage or whilst alongside. This
includes use of razor wire, increased lookouts, pressurized fire hoses,
restricted/secure access to accommodation, cargo spaces and deck stores and
increased deck patrols etc.
For the time being, rather than wait at the anchorage, masters are advised
to stay far from the Fair Way Buoy to minimize the chance of any piracy attack.
With regards to armed guards, these can be arranged only via the Nigeria Navy,
through agency channels and not via the Nigerian Maritime Police.
Although there are reports that Nigerian ports have improved, correspondents
note that particular care and vigilance should be exercised by the
Master when dealing with local approved service providers (such as husbandry
agents, garbage disposal companies etc.). Any crew venturing ashore
should be vigilant against personal robbery attacks.
The territorial waters and ports of Cameroon were considered comparatively
safe compared to other parts of the GoG until recently. However, since March
2019, at least two cases of piracy, involving three ships, have been recorded
at Douala anchorage with several crew abducted.
For instance, in late December 2019, pirates attacked the Greek-flagged “Happy Lady” tanker from Limboh port in Cameroon and managed to kidnap 8 crew members out of which 5 of Greek nationality, two Filipinos and one Ukrainian.
Now, authorities are taking more steps to enhance the security onboard ships
at Douala anchorage, including local armed guards on board each ship.
Since late January 2020, new steps have been taken by the Port of Cotonou
to protect ships whilst at port and at the anchorage.
Local authorities have advised that if a berth is unavailable for a ship,
then local naval forces will assign an anchorage position to the ship and an
armed guard will board the ship. This is a compulsory service however is
provided free of charge.
Piracy is reported as a serious threat in the territorial waters of Ghana.
Pirates are attacking ships to steal both personal belongings as well as cargo,
and in some cases, crew are being taken by pirates for ransom.
Local authorities have put in place several measures including that the
anchorage areas for the two major ports (Tema and Takoradi) are regularly
patrolled by the security officers of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA)
and the territorial waters are patrolled by the Ghanaian Navy. The
regular patrols by both GPHA and the navy are said to be deterring piracy
In January 2020, Ghana’s Maritime Security sector urged for more
investment towards enhancing maritime security, in order to protect Ghana’s
territorial waters, after the rise in maritime security threats across the West
Until late 2019, reports of piracy cases in Togolese coast were rare.
However, two recent incidents have highlighted that the waters off Togo also
represent a risk for ships trading in this area.
In late December 2019, six pirates boarded the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker “Duke”, which was sailing from Luanda, Angola, to Lomé, Togo and abducted all 20 but one crew members.
Security measures have been tightened up and include a requirement for all
ships in Togolese waters to have navy armed guards on board until the ship
berths. The service is currently offered at no charge for ship owners.
Additional armed guards are also recommended but this is not a mandatory