ICS Joins With Nigeria To Curb Attacks on Ships Crews

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  • The number of kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea has increased by more than 50%.
  • 20 crew members were kidnapped from the MT Duke on 15 December last year.
  • Over 90% of global kidnappings reported at sea took place in the Gulf of Guinea.
  • Deep Blue Project has been implemented by Nigeria to improve its maritime security.
  • ICS has joined hands with Nigeria to improve security.

According to an article published in the International Chamber of Commerce, the number of ship’s crewmembers being kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea has increased by more than 50% in 2019.

Escalation of violence continues

  • Moreover, this year there has been a further escalation of violence, armed robbery, and kidnapping.
  • The pirates are bolder and taking a greater number of hostages.
  • Levels of violence are high, and deaths have occurred both during attacks and during the captivity of seafarers and military personnel.
  • For example, 20 crewmembers were kidnapped from the MT Duke on 15 December last year with one of those crewmembers dying in captivity.

Gulf of Guinea – A hotspot for kidnappings

  • Over 90% of global kidnappings reported at sea took place in the Gulf of Guinea.
  • The vast majority of attacks are launched on shipping from within Nigerian territorial waters.
  • Nigeria is improving its maritime security capability through programmes such as the Deep Blue Project and ICS applauds and encourages these measures.

Measures to be taken

  • The International Community must respond to this threat to the lives and wellbeing of seafarers by supporting Nigeria in bringing a swift resolution to this intolerable situation.
  • Practical and effective assistance should be provided to coastal States to improve their Maritime Security in a meaningful way.
  • Naval assets in the region need to be prepared to respond to piracy incidents.

Safety is of utmost priority

Speaking after the ICS Board meeting held in London, Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping said: Our absolute priority will always be the safety and welfare of the crew. We stand ready and willing to work in close partnership with the Government of Nigeria, and the international community to protect ships and their crews as they go about their legitimate business. Seafarers have the right to operate free from the fear of kidnap or capture. But improved security in the Gulf of Guinea will also boost the Nigerian industry. There is an opportunity to pursue win-win cooperation.

He further added,We welcome efforts of the Nigerian Navy to respond to reported incidents of piracy by dispatching patrol boats. However, the spike in incidents indicates in 2019 and this year has shown just how far away we are from solving this endemic issue. The declining rate of piracy incidents elsewhere reinforces the importance of communication and coordination between vessels and authorities. The more information national governments and relevant authorities have on piracy trends, the stronger piracy prevention efforts will be. The shipping industry is ready and willing to work with all parties to bring an end to this endemic blight to free trade.

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Source: ICS

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