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IMB reports 30% piracy drop as Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project kicks in

The International Maritime Bureau
(IMB) has reported a drop in piracy attacks in Nigeria in the third quarter of

IMB said in its latest report, “Nigeria has reduced Q3 piracy attacks
from 41 in 2018 to 29 in 2019,” which represents nearly 30 per cent
year-on-year reduction.

This is as the Deep Blue Project, a
comprehensive maritime security architecture initiated by the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in collaboration with the military
and other security agencies, comes into operation.

The piracy reporting body also said
there was a decrease in global piracy incidents during the first nine months of
2019, compared with the corresponding period in 2018, in a fall to a five-year low.

Director of IMB, a specialised
division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Pottengal Mukundan,
said, “119 incidents have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Center in
2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018.

“Overall, the 2019
incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted
attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through
the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.”

However, according to IMB, piracy and
armed robbery attacks remain a challenge in the Gulf of Guinea.

The decline in piracy and armed
robbery attacks on vessels came as the Deep Blue Project, Nigeria’s Integrated
Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, began to yield results. 

project is handled by an Israeli firm, Homeland Security International (HLSI).
It involves the training of field and technical operatives drawn from the
various strata of the security services and NIMASA as well as acquisition of
assets to combat maritime crime, such as fast intervention vessels,
surveillance aircraft, and other facilities, and establishment of a command and
control centre for data collection and information sharing to aid targeted

The Deep Blue Project aims at
building a formidable integrated surveillance and security architecture that
will broadly combat maritime crime and criminalities in Nigeria’s waterways up
to the Gulf of Guinea.

The timing of the IMB report also
coincides with the conclusion of the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC
2019) hosted by Nigeria, and coordinated by the Federal Ministry of
Transportation and NIMASA, under the theme, “Managing and Securing our Waters.”

With the stated objective of, among
others, defining the nature and scope of coordinated responses to maritime
insecurity in relation to interventions, the conference enabled global maritime
leaders to review the progress made in the fight against maritime crime while
charting strategies for the future.

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