In its quarterly report on maritime piracy, The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) declared that the Gulf of Guinea remains dangerous for seafarers, accounting for nearly half of all reported piracy incidents in the first quarter.
Timeline of recent attacks on seafarers by pirates
December 2020: Danish Shipping Company, Maersk was attacked off the West African coast by ‘criminals’ while travelling from Tema in Ghana to Kribi in Cameroon.
January 2021: Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, called for military intervention in the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea, which had made the gulf the new global headquarters for piracy
January 2021: According to the International Maritime Bureau in its 2020 Annual Piracy report, West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea recorded an unprecedented increase in piracy attacks in 2020.
January 23, 2021: The Liberia-flagged container ship V/S Mozart was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. There were 19 crewmembers in the vessel, 1 killed, 15 kidnapped. The ship arrived at Port-Gentil at Gabon at 11:00 TRT with 3 remaining crew members.
But according to a report released in July 2021, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea fell to its lowest since Q2 2019, in the last quarter. IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported the region led globally with 32% of all reported incidents and accounted for all 50 kidnapped crew and the single crew fatality recorded during the first half of 2021.
In October 2021, the International Maritime Bureau (IBM) reported that global piracy cases dropped to the lowest level since 1994. 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, with the Nigerian area recording only 4 related cases for the same period.
Efforts made by the Nigerian government and stakeholders
In July 2021, a Federal High Court in Lagos convicted 10 men under a new law designed to combat the rising piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. The suspects were handed 12-year prison sentences after they were captured in May 2020 during a forceful boarding of a Chinese fishing vessel off the Ivorian coastline and kidnapping the crew member.
NIMASA’s Chief, Dr Bashir Jamoh attributed the positive development to the bringing together of maritime response authorities through initiatives like Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project and Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum which will continue to strengthen knowledge sharing channels and reduce risk to seafarers in the region.
NIMASA also introduced new measures to check security threats in the Nigerian maritime industry, as ship captains operating in Nigeria are now required to submit the Security-Related Pre-Arrival Information (SRPA) forms to the agency not later than 48 hours before the ship’s arrival at any Nigerian port. All ships are also expected to maintain 24 hours vigilance and surveillance to detect strange movements, including small boats and skiffs that may not be captured by the radar.
Also, in August, US Navy ship, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, arrived in Lagos to enable Nigeria in the fight against piracy. US Consul General, Claire Pierangelo said that the ship would be permanently assigned to Africa as a sign of the U.S government’s mission to fight piracy in the Gulf.
Nigeria’s efforts alongside working with its global allies greatly reduced piracy in the region as sea piracy activities at Nigeria’s Gulf of Guinea waters fell by as much as 80% in 2021, one of Nigeria’s bright spots in the fight against insecurity.
I was never in charge of maritime industry —Saraki
It could also be recalled that Amaechi had made a couple of visits to the Lekki deep seaport, even on a Sunday, before the presidential visit, none of which Saraki attended.
” Gbemi is also made of sterner stuff given her role in the “Otoge” political tsunami in Kwara which eventually swept off Bukola Saraki, her blood brother, from the political dominance in Kwara politics, a role which earned her the present position in the present dispensation.
“Today is my fifth week of assuming the leadership of the Ministry of Transportation”, she declared last week Friday in Lagos.
“We came to take stock of the sector. We had taken the stock of the Road sector,” she said.
Giving her summation of her findings at the end of the tour, she declared” Apapa and Tin Can ports are in terrible need of repairs.
“We will go and come back for repairs.
“We have the short, medium, and long-term plans for this. We need to start with rehabilitation here. Another problem here is power”
The Minister met various groups who are stakeholders in the industry.
Among them are women groups in maritime, terminal operators, stevedores, maritime workers union groups, haulage, and transport operators, maritime lawyers, freight forwarders, and maritime press.
We have political will to ensure CVFF is disbursed—-Saraki
The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Rukayyat Gbemisola Saraki has expressed willingness to muster the necessary political will to ensure the controversial Cabotage Vessels Financing Funds (CVFF) are disbursed before she leaves office.
“In the course of this visit, I have also interacted with so many stakeholders, including the indigenous ship owners.
“It is really a shame that this fund has not been disbursed, I learnt the value is $350 million now and I am not sure any part of it is missing.
She added that the disbursement would follow the approval by the National Assembly after beneficiaries must have been shortlisted.
P&ID fraud : Court convicts, winds up Marqott Nigeria Limited.
Justice D.U Okorowo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has convicted and wound up Marqott Nigeria Limited, one of the 30 companies associated with the Process and Industrial Development Limited, P & ID, for money laundering.
The company was convicted on Thursday, June 16, 2022, after being found guilty of four-count charges bordering on money laundering preferred against it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Count one of the charges read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to comply with the requirements of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of activities of Marqott Nigeria Limited contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with Section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
Count two read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to develop programs to combat money laundering and other illegal acts, to wit: failure to designate at management level a compliance officer within any strata of Marqott Nigeria Limited, contrary to Section 16(1)(f) read together with Section 9(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act”.
At the point of the first arraignment on February 7, 2022, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, setting the stage for a full trial.
In the course of the trial, the EFCC presented many witnesses and tendered many documents as exhibits.
In his judgment, Justice Okorowo found Marqott Nigeria Limited guilty of all the four-count charges and convicted it accordingly. He also ordered that the company be wound up and its entire assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Marqott was first arraigned on Monday, February 7, 2022, for being an accomplice in the $9.6bn Gas Supply and Processing Agreement between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.
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