- As IMB says 58 Seafarers Kidnapped in Q1, 2017
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman has reaffirmed her determination to fully collaborate with Stakeholders in every aspect of the Maritime sub-sector, in a bid to meaningfully revamp the nation’s economy.
Hadiza gave the assurance while receiving a visiting team of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), led by its Managing Director, Bayo Onanuga which paid a working visit to her Marina Lagos office.
“We will prioritize partnership in all we do in order to ensure that we utilize all available variable to our advantage as we aspire to position our Ports as a model agency”, Hadiza stated, expressing delight with the coverage by the NAN on NPA activities, noting that it had been tremendous.
The NPA Boss assured the news agency that she would gladly leverage on the NAN milage, praising the team for the effectiveness of the quarterly “NAN Forum”.
Earlier in his address, the MD of News Agency of Nigeria Forum, Mr. Bayo Onanuga had informed the gathering that his visit to the MD and her Management team was to show utmost solidarity with the present NPA arrowhead in view of her achievements thus far in office.
He solicited for the continued mutual synergy amongst Government agencies towards the successful implementation of Government policies, and enlisted the support of NPA towards ensuring that the agency acquires a competitive edge in information dissemination management.
Others who made Onanuga’s team were the Managing Editor/Director, Michael Mbonye, Director Maritime News, Mr. Leye Ajayi and Head Lagos Office, Mrs. Popoola Kate.
In the meantime, pirates and armed robbers attacked 43 ships and captured 58 seafarers in the first quarter of 2017, slightly more than the same period last year, according to the latest ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy report.
The global report highlights persisting violence in piracy hotspots off Nigeria and around the Southern Philippines – where two crew members were killed in February. Indonesia also reported frequent incidents, mostly low-level thefts from anchored vessels.
In total, 33 vessels were boarded and four fired upon in the first three months of 2017. Armed pirates hijacked two vessels, both off the coast of Somalia, where no merchant ship had been hijacked since May 2012. Four attempted incidents were also received, IMB said.
Of the 27 seafarers kidnapped worldwide for ransom between January and March 2017, 63% were in the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria is the main kidnap hotspot, with 17 crew taken in three separate incidents, up from 14 in the same period last year. All three vessels – a general cargo ship, a tanker and a bulk carrier – were attacked while underway 30-60 nautical miles off the Bayelsa coast. Three more ships were fired upon at up to 110 nautical miles from land, and many other attacks are believed to go unreported.
“The Gulf of Guinea is a major area of concern, consistently dangerous for seafarers, and signs of kidnappings increasing. IMB has worked closely with the response agencies in the region including the Nigerian Navy which has provided valuable support, but more needs to be done to crack down on the area’s armed gangs,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB. “We urge vessels to report all incidents so that the true level of piracy activity can be assessed.”
Growing violence around the Southern Philippines
Nine ships reported attacks in the first quarter of 2017 in the Southern Philippines compared with just two in the same period last year. These include an armed attack on a general cargo vessel in which two crew were killed and five kidnapped for ransom. Kidnappers captured five more people in attacks on a fishing trawler and a tug.
According to IMB, militant activity may be behind the escalating violence in waters around the Southern Philippines. Armed groups use speedboats to target seafarers and fishermen in slow-moving, low vessels.
Areas such as the Sulu Sea and Sibutu Passage are particularly risky. IMB recommends that ships avoid these waters by transiting West of Kalimantan, if possible – and, as ever, follow the industry’s latest best practice measures, to protect against attacks.
Additional report from World Maritime News