In the last 2 decades, piracy and sea robbery within the Golf of Guinea have become a major point of discussion. The region has been ranked as one of the most troubled waterways.
It is estimated that the annual cost of piracy to the GoG region is over USD 2 billion. In addition to this, is the emerging security occurrences within the Nigerian Maritime domain. This stemmed from non-military causes such as socio-economic agitations and unemployed youths within the coastal communities.
Their manifestations include attacks on shipping, sabotage of hydrocarbon infrastructure and maritime resource theft.
There are also various forms of illicit trafficking, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and marine pollution.
Crime Guard decided to take a peep into the Nigerian Navy’s operation in 2020. As the lead agency responsible for security in the country’s vast maritime environment and in its GoG corridor. The country has its maritime area of interest of about 574,800 square nautical miles spanning a total coastline of 2,874nm from Senegal to Angola.
This is to ascertain whether the Navy’s efforts at emplacing a viable domain for maritime business and legitimate socio-economic activities to thrive, yielded any results and also to determine whether the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibas-Ibok Ete’s Strategic Directive 1 and 2 Police Thrust which focused on eight key priority areas to be achieved by the Navy under his watch, were indeed delivered.
Anti-Piracy Operations Record at Crime Guard’s disposal showed that the NN anti-piracy operations recorded several successes in the fight against pirates and sea robbers. In the year under review, 22 pirate attacks were recorded in the nation’s Economic Exclusive Zone, EEZ. Out of this number, 10 were foiled by the Navy.
However, the spike in piracy activities was evident in the fourth quarter of year 2020, with six attacks. December 2020 recorded the highest number of attacks when compared to other months. In January, three pirate attacks were recorded, one was recorded in February, the months of March and April recorded two pirates attacks each, while none was recorded in May.
Between June and October, one attack each was recorded while three were recorded in the month of November. But the trend of pirates attacks within the Nigerian’s Maritime Environment in the last six years revealed that year 2020 recorded the third least number of attacks. Seventeen attacks were recorded in year 2015.
The year 2016 had the highest number of attacks with 70 cases.