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Nigeria Records Low Piracy Attacks In 2019’

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The International Maritime Bureau (IMB),  the foremost global maritime bureau, says Nigeria,  records in sea piracy has dropped in reported piracy incidents at sea in the first quarter of 2019.

The bureau in a statement made available to The Tide said, Nigeria has been a hotspot for piracy incidents over the past decade but quickly added that the West African country reported 14 incidents of piracy for the first quarter of this year compared to 22 incidents reported in the first quarter of 2018.

The  IMB report attributed the decline to Nigerian Navy’s increased efforts to “actively respond to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats. to track the pirate activities in the sub region.

The Bureau, however, insisted that the, Nigerian waters remain risky for vessels, especially the port of Lagos where four incidents of piracy were  reported, in recent times.

The IMB disclosed that global piracy and armed robbery incidents decreased by 42.4 percent during the period with 38 incidents recorded as against 66 incidents recorded in the corresponding period, last year.

The report indicated that 27 vessels were boarded, seven vessels were fired upon and four attempted attacks occurred in the first quarter of 2019.

The report also shows that no vessels were reported as hijacked for the first time since the first quarter of 1994.

Speaking on the report, IMB Director, Pottengal Mukundan said, “These latest statistics from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre are encouraging, as the first quarter statistics is too short a period on which to anticipate trends over the year

Mukundan said the Gulf of Guinea recorded a high number of piracy and armed robbery attacks at sea, with 22 incidents reported in the first quarter of 2019.

According to the director,  Asia, Indonesia witnessed a drop in piracy activities for the first quarter of 2019, as there were only three incidents reported against anchored vessels in ports in Indonesia – the fewest reported incidents since 2010

The Director said Nigeria recorded the feat, following increased cooperation and information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has enabled regular patrols in high-risk areas.

The golbal report insisted that the declining rate of piracy incidents worldwide in the first quarter of 2019 reinforces the importance of transparency, communication and coordination between vessels and coastal authorities.

The IMB director said, “by reporting all incidents to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre and coastal authorities, the response can be better organize.. National governments and coastal authorities can use this data to collaborate and strengthen their piracy prevention efforts,”

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Maritime

Navy Nabs Six Rice Smugglers In A’Ibom 

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The Nigerian Navy Command has arrested six suspected rice smugglers in Akwa Ibom State.
The  Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) also impounded 1,439 bags of smuggled rice between December 2019 and January 2020.
This was made known by the Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, in  Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Peter Yilme, in a statement last Wednesday.
Yilme said the suspects and the items impounded had been handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service in Mbo Local Government Area of the State.
The commanding officer, however, said some of the suspects escaped on sighting the Navy gunboats.
He said the command would remain steadfast in fighting illegalities on the waterways in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ibas.
Yilme said the arrests were made along the Unyenge, Effiat, and Mendoro creeks between December 2019 and January by Navy officers and men on routine patrol in their gunboats.
“I handed over 1,439 bags of rice and six suspects to the Superintendent of Customs, Garuba Hassan, in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff.
“We are committed to rid the waterways of all forms of illegalities.
“I commend the untiring efforts of the officers and ratings in ensuring the mandate and tasks of the Base are achieved.
“I also appreciate the immense efforts of the Chief of Naval Staff, for providing the necessary platform and logistics support for the Base to carry out its operations,” Yilme said.
Confessing to the crime, a suspect from Bayelsa, Wede John, said that he usually transported fish and was carrying rice for the first time when he was arrested.
“I don’t know the owner of the rice and didn’t know that rice was loaded into the boat. This is my first time of carrying rice.
“I usually transport crayfish and dry fish to Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom. I was carrying rice from Bakassi to Unyenge when I was arrested,” he said.
Also speaking, a suspect and boat driver, Awagoyi Philip,  said the owner of the rice promised to pay him N20,000 for carrying the rice but that he was yet to collect the money.
“I drive boats and I was paid to drive the boat that carried the rice. This is my first time. The owner of the rice promised to pay me N 20,000 and is aware that I have been arrested”, he said.

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Reps Plan Security Summits On Ports

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The House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours says it will soon organise a nationwide security summit to tackle acts of insecurity in the nation’s ports.
The committee also decried the spate of piracy in the nation’s waterways and abduction of crew members of vessels coming to Eastern ports.
Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Ports and Harbours, Hon  Datti Garba Muhammad, disclosed this to The Tide during an interview in Port Harcourt shortly after a visit to the Rivers Port Complex.
Muhammad said the summit would focus on the best possible ways to tackle insecurity in the nation’s waterways and reduce abduction of crew members in the ports.
Although the chairman did not say when the summit would take place, he condemned the act of piracy in the industry, saying the act had scared away some foreign investors, vessel owners and lowered the revenue accrued to the Federal Government.
He insisted that the committee wanted the Rivers Port Complex to revamp for more maritime activities and attract investors to the sector.
The chairman commended the management of the port, saying the port is now safer to do business as the issue of pirate attacks on vessels is now a thing of the past in the complex.
According to him, the safety and the working environment in the port complex will generate more revenue to the government.
“Rivers Port is safer for investors to patronise; no reports of attacks on sea vessels going to the complex for over six months now”, he said.
Describing Rivers Port Complex as à colonial port, Muhammad said the committee would want the complex to be competitive, attract investors and yield more revenue to the government.

 

Stories by Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Piracy: Seafarer Wants FG To Equip Navy, Marine Police

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A Port Harcourt based seafarer, Onmonya Udeh, has appealed to the Federal Government to equip the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to tackle piracy in the nation’s waterways.
Udeh lamented that pirates were armed with more sophisticated weapons than the Navy and the Marine police, thereby posing serious threats to the lives of mariners and passengers.
Udeh spoke to The Tide yesterday in Port Harcourt during a telephone interview on issues bothering maritime industry.
The mariner said over 121 crew members were kidnapped in 2019 across the Gulf of Guinea by suspected sea pirates.
He called on the Navy and Marine Police to ensure regular patrol of the creeks, channels and all the waterways in the region to protect lives and property.
The seafarer appealed to the government to equip Navy with adequate gunpower to confront the sea robbers that are posing threats to the creeks and waterways in the region.
He said marine companies were scared to operate in the region due to the negative attitude of the criminals who terrorized the waterways.
Udeh said the attack and abduction of vessel owners and marine companies had created unemployment and even forced companies to relocate to a safer environments such as Lagos and neighbouring countries.
The mariner admonished the youth to shun acts inimical to the socio-economic growth of the region, but embrace positive life style that would encourage industrialization.

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