Persistent pirate attack on Nigerian waters seems not to be abating, with about 10 crew members of a bulk carrier reported missing after an attack that took place around 32 nautical miles south of Brass, Nigeria.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, yesterday, said the unnamed bulker was boarded by six pirates from a small boat while underway on December 14.
The mariners are believed to have been kidnapped for ransom, while the remaining crew onboard sailed the vessel to a safe port.
A maritime security firm, Dryad Maritime informed that: “Pirate Action Group (PAG) stalking waters off the Niger Delta may have abducted up to 10 crew members from a bulk carrier south of Brass.”
The attack took place on the same day a group of four to five persons in a wooden boat approached and tried to board a general cargo ship underway. The ship was en route some 19 nautical miles south of Brass, Nigeria.
The boarding, according to the piracy watchdog, was thwarted as the master increased speed and took anti-piracy measures. The number of reported attacks off the Niger Delta keeps ramping up, with over 15 attacks reported in recent weeks.
This year alone, 56 mariners (excluding the latest casualties) have been kidnapped off the Niger Delta.
This is despite the efforts by the Nigerian Navy to detain those responsible for the recent attacks, even as they are said to have the description of an alleged mother vessel preying on the vessels in the region.
Unfortunately, it is the seafarers who pay the highest price, as they end up being held for ransom like a highly-valued commodity. Sometimes, their ordeal lasts for years, if talks between shipowners and pirates hit a stalemate. Other times, they are left to be rescued by maritime forces or they manage to escape.
A report by the United States Maritime Administration, International Maritime Bureau, had earlier declared Nigerian waters as deadly and unsafe.
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the threats on the nation’s territorial waters are a part of the reasons the nation lost the Category C seat of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Peterside, who spoke on the sidelines of the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea Group meeting in Lagos, said Nigeria’s insecure and unsafe waters contributed immensely to its woes at the IMO election.
He however noted that the “7 Friends of the Gulf of the Guinea Group” is one of the international initiatives the country is leveraging to strengthen the fight against piracy and other criminal activities on the sea.