As Deep Blue project takes root, Pirate attacks in Nigeria shrink
— IMB says four incidents recorded in first nine months of 2021
As the sophisticated deep blue assets commissioned in June have been deployed, the pirates and other criminals on the Nigerian waters have started to feel the heat of the multi-prong onslaught.
This has resulted in the dwindling operations of the pirates as they are beginning to flee the Nigerian waters.
This assertion was evident in the latest statistics released by the International Maritime Bureau(IMB) in its latest reports.
According to the IBM piracy reporting centre, Nigeria only reported four incidents of pirate attacks in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.
“The Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 46 for the same period in 2020.
”Most notably, Nigeria only reported four incidents in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.
”Crew kidnappings in the region have dropped with only one crew member kidnapped in Q3 2021, compared to 31 crew members taken in five separate incidents during Q3 2020. All Q3 incidents in 2021 were also against vessels at port anchorages whilst the average successful kidnapping location in Q3 2020 was approximately 100NM from land” the report said.
The overall reduction of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region is a testament to enhanced maritime security and response coordination measures adopted by regional and national authorities, according to IMB.
Despite these gains, IMB warns that the risk to crew remains high in the region and that such efforts must therefore be sustained.
“We welcome the decrease of piracy and armed robbery attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and the efforts taken by maritime authorities in the region,” said Michael Howlett, Director, ICC International Maritime Bureau.
“However, there needs to be sustained efforts to ensure the continued safety of seafarers as they transport essential goods throughout the region.
”Coastal States must redouble their coordination and security measures to ensure that piracy and armed robbery incidents continue to decline.”
Nigeria has been leading in the aggressive campaign and onslaught against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
With its deployment of the multi-million naira assets under the deep blue project, pirate attacks and armed robbery incidents have been on the downward trend, a development which the IMB commended and advised that they should be sustained.
The land assets under the project include the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) for intelligence gathering and data collection; 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol; and 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit.
The sea assets include two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats. The air assets comprise two Special Mission Aircraft for surveillance of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue operations; and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
In addition to these, 600 personnel drawn from the agencies which are involved in the project, have been trained by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), the agency which drives the project.
Meanwhile, the ICC International Maritime Bureau also declared that piracy and armed robbery incidents globally dropped to their lowest in decades as the lowest number of reported piracy and armed robbery incidents were recorded for the first nine months of any year since 1994.
IMB’s latest global piracy report recorded 97 incidents of piracy and armed robbery for the first nine months of 2021 – the lowest level of reported incidents since 1994.
In 2021, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 85 vessels boarded, nine attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon and one vessel hijacked.
Reported incidents are down to their lowest level in decades, but violence against seafarers has continued with 51 crew kidnapped, eight taken hostage, five threatened, three injured, two assaulted and one killed, according to the latest IMB statistics.
”While the reduction of reported incidents is welcome, IMB PRC warns that seafarers must remain vigilant as violence against crew remains high in many areas of the world, such as Singapore straits, Coast of Peru which recorded high incidents of piracy.
The Singapore Straits reported 20 incidents of armed robbery – the highest number recorded since 1991. Reported incidents in the Singapore Straits are up from 15 in 2020 and just one incident in 2019. These attacks are low-level and opportunistic in nature, but IMB warns that the perpetrators pose a direct threat to seafarers and vessels underway. In four incidents, the crew were either threatened, assaulted, or injured.
The Callao Anchorage in Peru is another area that has witnessed an increase in piracy activity with 15 reported incidents in 2021 – the highest number since 1991.
As with the Singapore Straits, these incidents are low-level thefts with knives being reported in 60% of the incidents. Attackers in the region possess the capacity to carry out violent attacks with three crew taken hostage and a further one each assaulted or threatened during the first nine months of 2021.
The IMB PRC reported a noticeable reduction in the number of reported incidents in Indonesian waters with only six low-level incidents reported in the first nine months of 2021, compared to 23 incidents during the same period in 2020.
This is the lowest total of reported piracy and armed robbery incidents in Indonesian waters since 1993. The report commends the policies and proactive response measures implemented by the Indonesian Marine Police informed IMB PRC reporting.
Since its founding in 1991, IMB PRC remains a single point of contact to report all crimes of maritime piracy and armed robbery, 24 hours a day.
Their prompt forwarding of reports, and liaison with response agencies, broadcast to shipping via GMDSS Safety Net Services, and email alerts to CSOs, all provided free of cost, help the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers, globally.
Lagos princess congratulates Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu
Kosoko said that the MCP, which has gotten the backing of the government, would give support and connect not less than 5000 Nigerian graduates with the right employers in the industry who can engage them in non-technical aspects of shipping.
She noted that women will be given an adequate percentage under MCP, stating that the MCP is not creating jobs but providing a fertile ground for the transfer of knowledge from old Nigerians in the industry to young ones.
Ekweremadu, wife may go to jail as London court finds them guilty of organ tafficking
A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; his wife Beatrice; and their doctor, Obinna Obeta have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
Ekweremadu, 60; his wife, Beatrice, 56; and Obeta, 51; were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
They allegedly criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney, the jury found, according to UK Guardian.
Ekweremadu and his wife were charged in the United Kingdom after they allegedly lured a young man from Nigeria to harvest his organ for their ailing daughter, Sonia.
The lawmaker was last year arrested and had been in the custody of UK authorities after they received complaints from the young man about their alleged plans to harvest his organ.
The prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC, told the court on Thursday the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”.
He said they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man.
The behaviour of Ekweremadu, a successful lawyer and founder of an anti-poverty charity who helped draw up Nigeria’s laws against organ trafficking, showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”, Davies told the jury.
He said Ekweremadu, who owns several properties and had a staff of 80, “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter – somebody in circumstances of poverty and from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact”.
Davies added, “What he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interests of his daughter, Sonia, it was exploitation, it was criminal.
“It is no defence to say he acted out of love for his daughter. Her clinical needs cannot come at the expense of the exploitation of somebody in poverty.”
Ekweremadu, who denied the charge, told the court he was the victim of a scam.
Beatrice denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy. Sonia did not give evidence.
The judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass sentence at a later date.
EFCC arraigns bank manager, two others for N55m fraud in Makurdi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC,) on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, arraigned one Kichime Gomwalk, a branch manager of First City Monument Bank, (FCMB,) Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited before Justice P. S. Gang of the Plateau State High Court Jos, on a five-count charge bordering on stealing, cheating and obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) fraud.
Kichime Gomwalk, while serving as branch Manager, FCMB Plc, Murtala Mohammed Way Jos, in Plateau State is alleged to have forged COCIN GRATUITY CERTIFICATE OF PLEDGE/LETTER OF SET-OFF dated 30th DECEMBER, 2019, purportedly co-signed by Mrs. Monica Bitrus Tang and Rev (Dr.) Amos Musa Mohzo, Directors, which he used to secure an overdraft facility from FCMB Plc to the tune of N55, 000.000.00 (Fifty-Five Million Naira) with COCIN Gratuity account N0. 100GOMWALK379 domiciled with FCMB Plc
Count one of the charges reads, “That you, Kichime Gomwalk, Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and you Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited, sometime in December 2019 at Jos, in Plateau State within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did conspire among yourselves to commit an unlawful act to with without Lawful authority engaged in the acquisition of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) overdraft credit facility from FCMB Plc and thereby committed an offense of conspiracy contrary to section 59 (1) of the Plateau State Penal Code Law, (20017) and punishable under Section 59 (2) of the same Law”.
Count two reads, “That you, Kichime Gomwalk, Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and you Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited, sometime in December 2019 in Plateau State within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court fraudulently used LETTER OF CONSENT to engage in the acquisition of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) overdraft credit facility from FCMB Plc knowing that at the time of acquisition of the said money, it was derived from the unlawful activity and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18 (a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act) 2004, and Punishable under section 18 (2) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ when the charge was read to them.
The judge adjourned the case till May 18, 2023, and ordered the remand of the defendants at the Jos Correctional Center pending the hearing of their bail applications.
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