The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a global pirates report agency, says no fewer than 29 incidents of piracy attacks were reported in Nigeria’s waterways in the third quarter of 2019.
IMB said though Nigeria’s maritime piracy attacks reduced from 41 in the third quarter of 2018 to 29 in the third quarter of 2019, the country recorded more attacks than any other country in the world.
IMB, in a statement made available to The Tide, yesterday, also said that on the global scene, the first nine months of this year saw fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the corresponding period of 2018 with reports of 119 incidents from January to September 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the corresponding period of 2018.
A breakdown of the attacks by the Bureau shows that, 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked.
The Bureau said that the number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.
IMB noted that the Gulf of Guinea remained a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery as the region accounted for 86 percent of crew taken hostage and nearly 82 percent of crew kidnappings globally.
Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.
“Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency,” Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB, said.
The report added that Indonesia continued with a trend of the decline in overall piracy related incidents with 20 actual and attempted attacks for the first nine months of 2019.
IMB noted that this could be attributed to continued information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.
The report, however, indicates that no incident of piracy was noticed or recorded in Somalia in the first nine months of 2019.
The Bureau advised ship owners to remain cautious when transiting these waters.
Stories By Chinedu Wosu
NPA Frowns Against Extortion Of Truck Drivers
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has threatened to sanction any staff that indulges in extortion of money from truck drivers at Apapa Port.
The Acting Managing Director, NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this shortly after a meeting with Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Koko expressed optimism that the agency’s collaboration with the state government would bring an end to the perennial gridlock within and around the Apapa area.
The NPA boss emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports, which are the two busiest ports in the country.
He said NPA had been inundated with complaints of extortion from truckers, especially by security operatives, demanding money from drivers before accessing the ports.
He described the practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.
“One of the complaints of the truckers has to do with extortion by security operatives, the Army, the Police, the Nigerian Navy and even NPA security staff.
“This is one of the areas we require the intervention of government, because we have police officers deployed from the State Command who are allegedly involved in this. We at the NPA have resolved to take the right punitive measures against any of our staff involved in this.
“We have moved some of them out of port locations, and we will do further reviews. Whoever is found involved would be appropriately sanctioned”, he said.
The NPA boss acknowledged that the Lagos State Government had been a close partner in terms of enforcement, but asked for more intervention to end the menace.
“NPA has reached out to the Federal Ministry of Works, we have been speaking with the Director of Works in the State, and we have asked that they should provide some palliatives around Sunrise Bus-stop.
“We were made to understand that the contract for that section of the road has just been awarded, but because of the rains, work has been delayed”, he added.
MWUN Tasks NIMASA, NIWA On Boat Drivers’ Training
The Maritime and Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to train and retrain boat drivers in the country to reduce incessant accidents on our waterways.
MWUN said training and retraining of boat drivers would enhance their capability and efficiency in the industry and save lives.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Jonah Jumbo disclosed this during a telephone interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jumbo also advised NIMASA and NIWA to sanction any boat driver involved in over-speeding, overloading and reckless driving to reduce boat mishaps.
The chairman who regretted that most boat drivers lacked the skills and technical know-how to navigate the waters, said their human errors often caused accidents.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that regular training for boat drivers would enrich their skills and enable them to read the tide while on transit.
He frowned at the increasing rate of boat mishaps on the nation’s waterways and urged all stakeholders to check the trend.
The MWUN boss called on the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to arrest and prosecute any driver indulging in alcohol and overloading of passengers while on transit, adding that the act caused over seventy percent of water accident.
He appealed to drivers to desist from acts capable of causing accident, noting that many families have lost their loved ones through reckless driving and unholy acts caused by human errors on the waterways.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Sokoto To Boost Water Transport With Motorised Boats
The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, says his administration will boost water transportation with motorised boats.
He also said his government would make life jackets available to all travellers and other water users to reduce boat mishap.
The governor stated this while commiserating with the people of Shagari Local Government Area that recently lost their loved ones in a boat mishap in the state.
He regretted that the state had lost many lives to boat accidents and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear their loss.
Also speaking, Chairman, Shagari Local Government Council, Aliyu Dantine Shagari, said eight of the victims were married women while five were children and elderly men.
He attributed the cause of the boat mishap to overloading.
“But there are other causes of boat mishap including strong wind. We are still investigating the matter to know what actually led to the accident”, he said.
The chairman advised boat drivers to desist from overloading and over speeding, noting that the community lost over six people in a similar accident last year.
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