The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has listed Nigeria as a top piracy hotspot, describing the nation’s waters as risky, owing to the high rate of attacks on vessels.
In its latest piracy report released on Tuesday, IMB said that there had been 20 attacks reported against ships within the first nine months of 2016.
It stated that 16 of the 20 attacks occurred off the coast of Brass, Bonny and Bayelsa and guns were used in 18 of the incidents while vessels were “underway” in 17 of the 20 reported attacks.
IMB further revealed that 39 of the 49 crew members kidnapped globally occurred off Nigerian waters in seven separate incidents.
Also, it stated that other crew kidnapping cases in 2017 were reported 60 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria.
“In general, all waters in and off Nigeria remain risky, despite intervention in some cases by the Nigerian Navy. We advise vessels to be vigilant. The number of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea could be even higher than our figures as many incidents continue to be unreported”, the Director of IMB, Pottengal Mukundan, was quoted as saying.
The organisation also said a total of 121 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported globally in the first nine months of 2017. In total, 92 vessels were boarded; 13 were fired upon; there were 11 attempted attacks and five vessels were hijacked in the first nine months of 2017.
The flagship global report noted that while piracy rate was down compared to the same period in 2016, there were still concerns over attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and South East Asia.