The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), Piracy Reporting Centre, says a recent pirate attack on an offshore vessel along the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) injured two crew members.
The attacks on the ship and crew members occurred in less than three months after the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) launched its much-touted Deep Blue project.
The Deep Blue project, which cost Nigeria a whopping USD195 million (about N80 billion), was touted by NIMASA and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, as the answer to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Both Amaechi and the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, assured the maritime community that the project would end piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Director General, NIMASA Jamoh had described the project as “mission accomplished”.
The project, also called the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 10, 2021.
A statement by the IMB says five persons in a speed boat armed with guns approached, fired upon and boarded the offshore supply ship, which was at anchorage.
“The alarm was raised and crew members secured themselves in the ship, but two crew were injured due to the firing and required hospitalisation,” the report said.
The remaining crew was reported safe and local authorities were notified.
The IMB’s latest global piracy report showed 68 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first six months of 2021, the lowest total since 1994 and down from 98 incidents during the same period in 2020.
However, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be particularly dangerous for seafarers with 32% of all reported incidents taking place in the region.
The region also accounted for all 50 kidnapped crew and the single crew fatality recorded by IMB during the first half of 2021.
“Whilst IMB welcomes reduced piracy and armed robbery activity in the Gulf of Guinea, the risk to seafarers still remains. By reporting all incidents to the Regional Authorities and IMB PRC, seafarers can maintain pressure against pirates”, the statement added.
IMB Director, Michael Howlett, said bringing together maritime response authorities through initiatives like Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project and Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum would continue to strengthen knowledge sharing channels and reduce risk to seafarers in the region.
Customs Cautions Officers On Improper Dressing, Unkempt Beards
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has threatened to sanction its officials for improper dressing and unkempt beards. Other minor violations include use of name tags.
This was contained in a memo issued by the Deputy Comptroller General, Human Resources Development of NCS, A.T. Babani.
The memo number HRD/2021/026 titled: “Introduction of Customs Police Caution Slip in the Service” was dated 10th September, 2021.
The memo stated that the caution slip would be issued in triplicate for minor offences such as improper dressing, use of unapproved name tags, and failure to shave among others.
The service said it has introduced the use of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
The memo reads, “I am directed to bring to your notice that the Comptroller General of Customs has approved the usage of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
“The slip which will be administered by the Customs Police Unit of various Zones/Area Commands would be in triplicate and once issued, a copy shall be forwarded and inserted into the officer’s establishment file.
“The issuance of the Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) will include offences such as improper dressing, multi-colour waist belt other than approved one and usage of unapproved name tag, failure to shave, and other sundry minor violations of the second regulation 13 of the Customs and Excise Management Act CAP LFN of 2004 as amended.
“The caution slips would serve as a proactive tool to ensure compliance to rules and regulations.
“First-time offenders, repeated offenders and consistent pattern of offence identified, shall be documented and used for strategic decisions making”.
Stakeholder Tasks RSG, MWUN On Piracy
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, says the union and the state government need a strong synergy to tackle the act of sea piracy and all forms of criminal activities in the state’s waterways.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers state Branch, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, in an interview with The Tide, noted that unlike in Lagos State, there was no synergy between the Rivers State Government and MWUN to curb piracy on the waterways.
“We need to work together to checkmate all forms of criminality, sea piracy and attacks on passenger boats in our waters”, Jumbo said.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that the state government and the union were working in parallel lines, hence the high rate of piracy on the waterways.
Jumbo said, lack of synergy between the state and the union was having negative turns in its operations, thereby not improving marine transport business in the state.
The chairman said the union alone cannot solve the problem of insecurity in the waterways, hence the need for collaborations between the state government and other relevant authorities.
He further noted that Lagos State was doing well in marine transportation because there was a strong synergy between the state government and the union.
“Lagos state maritime business is improving every day with more fleets because the government, stakeholders and the union are working towards ensuring success”, he said.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Inadequate Facilities At MAN Worry Mariners
The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has lamented lack of simulators for training of cadets at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
The body also decried lack of ocean-going vessels to enable the cadets of the academy acquire the mandatory sea time experience.
NAMM President, Capt. Tajudeen Alao disclosed this during an interview with newsmen, recently.
“Training at the Academy had always been as per the International Maritime Organisations (IMO) model courses”, he said.
Capt. Alao said the shortcomings have always been in the areas of lecturers, simulators and international trading ships for practical exposure.
Other challenges include lack of funding, bureaucracy and the Nigerian factor.
“Leadership of the academy too has not been based on professionalism but political consideration. The shipping companies who are end-users have not committed their services to the academy.
“The number of students per class is much more than what is obtainable in the western world.
“There are no core ship-related courses, not many courses, facilities and disciplines,” Alao said.
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