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Pirates still active off Nigeria

One hundred and twenty-one incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in the first nine months of the year, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has said in its latest report.

The global report notes while piracy incidents were down compared to the same period in 2016, there is continuing concern over attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and in south-east Asia. The increase in attacks off the coast of Venezuela and other security incidents against vessels off Libya – including an attempted boarding in the last quarter – highlight the need for vigilance.

In total, 92 vessels were boarded, 13 were fired on, there were 11 attempted attacks and five vessels were hijacked in the first nine months of 2017.

No incidents were reported off the coast of Somalia in the third quarter, although successful attacks earlier in the year suggest pirates in the area retain the capacity to target merchant shipping at distances from the coastline.

A total of 20 reports against all vessel types were received for Nigeria, 16 off the coast of Brass, Bonny and Bayelsa. Guns were reportedly used in 18 incidents, and vessels were underway in 17 of the 20 reports. Thirty-nine of the 49 crew members kidnapped in total occurred off Nigerian waters in seven separate incidents. Other crew kidnappings 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,” said Pottengal Mukundan, head of the IMB. “The number of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea could be even higher as many incidents continue to go unreported.”

Source: defence web