Philip Diacon, CEO of security consultant company Dryad Global has hit back at accusations by the Nigerian Navy that Dryad Global had been guilty of misreporting and exaggerating recent events in the Gulf of Guinea.
On February 26th the Chief of Staff of the Nigerian Navy accused Dryad Global of reporting that the Odianosen had been hijacked and that two personnel onboard had died.
The particular incident in question was corrected by Dryad Global the following day. The security escort vessel concerned appeared to have distributed false information to a client as a result of being unable to honour an agreed provision of services.
The Navy went on to say that Dryad’s reports were “a deliberate ongoing effort to discourage maritime traffic as well as heighten freight and insurance cost in the region”. It said that media organizations should be wary of “any calculated attempt” to discredit Nigeria’s image and alleged that this might be the result of the “furtherance of an untoward maritime agenda”.
Diacon said that “for the military of a sovereign state to mount a public attack on a private company is unprecedented. It is our firm belief that the Nigerian Navy has chosen to attack Dryad Global as a result of our commitment to the core message of safety of life at sea and our loyalty to our clients in delivering unbiased, agenda free factual reporting. We covered the pressing issues faced by maritime in west Africa our 2021 report.”
Diacon said that the accusations of agenda-driven and alarmist reporting were “entirely unfounded”. He noted that Dryad’s reporting was “consistent with IMO statistics and those held by other regional monitoring organizations. Our reporting is verified by rigorous standards, and we constantly balance the need of getting critical and timely security information to our clients with the need for accuracy.”
Diacon said that, where information developed and amendments were required, Dryad did so with equal application.
“As an independent voice we prioritize the needs of our clients and the wider maritime community over the sensitivities of actors that should be held to account”, said Diacon.
He said that “we should all be concerned by such attempts to discredit private operators in West Africa and it is disappointing that other commercial operators, including some competitors, did not take the opportunity to speak up in support of the right to report free from state interference or sadly, chose to further a negative narrative for limited personal gain”.
Diacon concluded that “I reassure you as CEO of Dryad Global that we will never place commercial agendas over factual and accurate reporting in support of safety of life at sea and your operations”.