Hijackings and attacks off Nigeria decline in number year on year

The number of hijackings and armed attacks in the Gulf of Guinea off Nigeria has dropped year on year, according to figures from International Piracy Reporting Centre, IMB.

For the Gulf of Guinea and off the coast of Nigeria, 21 pirate incidents were recorded in the first half of 2019, down from 31 incidents in the same period of 2018.

Globally, 78 cases of piracy and armed robbery against ships had been registered so far this year, compared to 107 incidents in the same period in 2018.

The decrease was thought to be attributable, at least in part, to efforts by the Nigerian fleet, Asbjørn Overgaard Christiansen, Acting Director of Security, Environment and Maritime Research at Danish Shipping, said that “we are very pleased that the number of incidents is on the decline. The development emphasizes how important it is that countries in the exposed regions start to live up to their responsibility as to safeguarding their waters, and for the Gulf of Guinea, we have especially seen Nigeria making an important effort”.

Naval vessels from Equatorial Guinea and Spain also played their part in May 2019 when a Nigerian tug was hijacked 41 nm off Luba, Equatorial Guinea. The pirates used the tug to launch an attack on a Maltese heavy load carrier. The crew retreated into the ship’s citadel, and, when the navies responded, the pirates left the vessel and the crew were freed.

The Gulf of Guinea, particularly the waters off Nigeria remain the hotspot most affected by violent assaults and hijackings. Eight out of nine incidents where pirates have fired upon merchant ships took place off Nigeria, while nearly half of the globally reported pirate incidents occurred in the Gulf of Guinea.

In Malaysia, 10 crew were kidnapped from two fishing boats off eastern Sabah in June. Of these, nine are reported to have been released. The 11 incidents reported in Indonesian waters was the lowest Q2 figure since 2009.

A vessel was fired upon in the Guayas River after departing from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second largest city. This is the first time an incident involving the firing of weapons has been reported to the IMB PRC in Ecuador. Elsewhere in South America, incidents of violent armed theft against ships at anchor were reported in Callao in Peru, Jose Terminal in Venezuela and Macapa in Brazil ority51