Stakeholders Set To Discuss Maritime Crimes In GOG
…As MARAN Maiden Annual Lecture Holds Tomorrow
BY FUNMI ALUKO
Industry stakeholders will tomorrow converge at the Rockview Hotels Apapa Lagos to look at the issues of the recurring resurgence of piracy and general insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea being organized by the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) to debut the maiden edition of the MARAN Annual Maritime Lecture (MAMAL).
A statement signed by MARAN President, Mr Godfrey Bivbere note that MARAN decided to dedicate the flag off of its annual maritime lecture to piracy incidents and security threats owing to its concern to ensure that the right structures are put in place to achieve deterrence.
Bivbere disclosed that the MAMAL 2023 inaugural edition with the theme “Maritime Security: Emerging Threats and Actionable Steps” is targeted at proffering long-term, sustainable solutions that will effectively address maritime crimes in the GoG region and protect seafaring and fishing communities in the affected countries.
He explained that the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report of July 2023 confirmed that the GoG witnessed a surge in maritime incidents in 2023, with five incidents in the first quarter and nine in the second quarter.
“Out of these, 12 were classified as armed robberies and two as piracy, predominantly targeting anchored vessels in the region. According to the IMB report, in these incidences, 14 crew members were kidnapped, of which 8 crew members were taken from vessels anchored within the GoG territorial waters.
“Additionally, in two separate hijackings, 31 crew members were taken hostage, while communication and navigation equipment were destroyed, and partial cargoes stolen”, he said.
He further explained that whereas MARAN is aware that the Nigerian Navy is at the forefront of the anti-piracy combat, he noted that the initiative is in partnership with other security agencies such as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), regional navies and maritime administrations, which has led to a significant reduction in piracy incidents on Nigerian waters and the GoG throughout 2022.
Bivbere pointed out that the effective deployment of naval assets, warships, Falcon Eye, the Deep Blue Project assets, establishment of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime-related Offences Act 2019, among others are worthwhile accomplishments attributable to the Nigerian Navy in recent years.
He, however, said there was the need for a much more consolidated effort that would be explored at the summit.
The MARAN president said stakeholders expected at event includes the Nigerian Navy, Ship owners, NIMASA, Shipping lines, Terminal Operators, Nigerian Shippers Council, Seafarers organisations and regional navies.