Chamber to support Nigeria in fight against piracy on W/African waters

Worried by increasing number of attacks on ships and crew kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), which grew by more than 50 percent in 2019, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said its ready and willing to work in close partnership with Nigerian government, and other international community to protect ships and crews on legitimate business in the region.

Esben Poulsson, ICS chairman, who stated this during ICS Board meeting held in London, also said its priority will always be for the safety and welfare of crew.

According to him, this year has begun with a further escalation of violence, armed robbery and kidnapping. “The crisis is deepening – pirates are bolder and taking greater number of hostages.

He stated that the levels of violence are high, and deaths have occurred both during attacks and captivity of seafarers as well as military personnel, emphasising that ‘this is not business as usual.’

“For example, 20 crew members were kidnapped from the tanker ‘MT Duke’ on 15 December last year with one of those crew members dying in captivity. Over 90 percent of global kidnappings reported at sea in 2019 took place in the Gulf of Guinea and it remains an uncomfortable fact that the vast majority of attacks were launched on shipping from within Nigerian territorial waters,” added ICS.

Meanwhile, Poulsson urged the International Community to respond to this threat to lives and wellbeing of seafarers by supporting Nigeria in bringing a swift resolution to this intolerable situation.

According to ICS, practical and effective assistance should be provided to coastal states to improve their maritime security in a meaningful way, and naval assets in the region need to be prepared to respond to piracy incidents.