• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria second hot spot for piracy in Q1 2013 – IMB

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Nigeria and Indonesia accounted for 50 percent of piratical attacks in the first quarter (Q1) of this year, even as piracy incidents worldwide dropped sharply in the period, the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy reporting centre said on Monday.

According to the IMB’s latest quarterly report on Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, there were a total of 66 incidents worldwide reported in the first three months of 2013, compared with 102 incidents reported in the same period last year.

In the Gulf of Guinea 15 incidents were recorded, including three hijackings, Nigeria accounted for 11 incidents in the region, in which at least nine of these attacks involved the use of guns.

“An offshore supply vessel with 15 crew members was also hijacked. One crew member subsequently died as a result of a gunshot wound after his chemical tanker was fired upon at Lagos anchorage. A further 14 crew were kidnapped from four different vessels in Nigeria. At the time of the kidnappings, all the vessels were reported to be underway,” said the report.

Nearly half of the attacks reported during the first quarter of this year were against tankers, with 28 incidents recorded followed by bulk carriers with 16 cases, said the report.

In a March 11, 2013 report, BusinessDay had said that the rising incidence of piratical attacks on oil vessels and crew members in Nigeria, which assumed unprecedented dimension in recent times, could cause the oil and gas industry a heavy loss of investment as pirate gangs hijack large tankers at sea, siphoning off their oil cargoes into smaller ships.

Outside African waters, Indonesia recorded the highest number of attacks with 25 incidents, which were mainly low level thefts, said the report. Most of the incidents involved vessels anchored at ports such as Dumai, Balikpapan and Belawan – which have key oil loading terminals.

Further west in Africa, three incidents were recorded in the Ivory Coast, including the hijacking of two tankers. In early February, one such tanker was taken while underway, 70 nautical miles south of Abidjan and routed to Nigerian waters.

Pottengal Mukundan, IMB director, said in the report: “The drop in reported attacks is due to proactive naval actions against suspected pirate action groups, the employment of privately contracted armed security personnel and the preventive measures used by the merchant vessels (as per latest Best Management Practices recommendations). The attacks will rise to past levels if the naval presence is reduced or vessels relax their vigilance.”

The regions around Somalia and the Gulf of Aden recorded five incidents during the first quarter of this year.

On the eastern side of Africa, Somalia recorded five incidents this quarter including the hijacking of a fishing vessel and its 20-member crew.

 

FEMI ASU