The Nigerian Navy recently intercepted a small craft and arrested its occupants for providing security services to a merchant ship. A Nigerian Navy spokesman said that the Navy had received a tip that a “rogue vessel” was escorting oil tanker Osamewe.
A gunboat crew was deployed to Bonny Anchorage to intercept the vessel, named Workhorse. Upon arrival, the Nigerian Navy boat crew determined that the seven civilian-clothed crewmembers on board the Workhorse did not have the appropriate permit to operate as a security vessel, and they were arrested as a result.
The Nigerian Navy subsequently handed over the suspects to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps for further processing.
Nigeria forbids the presence of private maritime security contractors in its waters. This effectively prohibits Gulf of Guinea vessel operators from using on-board armed guards, even though in the past these have proved successful in deterring pirates in the high-risk area off Somalia.
Nigeria permits private contractors to provide for-hire Security Escort Vessel (SEV) services using civilian boats and armed Nigerian Navy active duty service members. Some security services firms have said that this system suffered from high costs and poor reliability.