Following the increasing rate of piracy and hijacking of crew for ransom in Nigerian waters, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, Indian Directorate of General of Shipping in Mumbai, has issued a restriction on all seafarers who are Indian national, banning them from working onboard vessels working in Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea.
In a circular sent to all shipping owners, shipping companies and other practitioners which was signed by the Director General of Shipping in India, Capt Anish Joseph a copy of which was obtained by DAILY TREND, the state observed that there is an increasing trend in the number of incidents taking place inside the various Coastal States jurisdiction in the Gulf of Guinea.
The country also alleged that from two recent incidents, it has become clearer that foreign nationals especially Indian seafarers, are being selectively targeted during piracy and armed robbery incidents in the Gulf of Guinea.
Apart from Nigeria, the Indian Shipping Directorate also instructed manning agents to not engage any Indian seafarers on coastal vessels trading solely within the ports in Gulf of Guinea including Benin, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
In the circular numbered F. No. 35-NT (04) /PRY/2018, dated 8th of May 2019 is titled “NT Wing Piracy Circular No. 03 of 2019” subtitled “Maritime Securit Advisory 03 of 2019: ‘Restriction in engaging Indian seafarers on vessels trading solely in Gulf of Guinea”
The circular reads “For the attention of Ship Owners, Ship Managers, Shipping Agents, RPSL Agents, Ship Masters, Seafarers, Charterers, Ship Builders, Ship Breakers Association, Classification Societies recognized by Directorate General of Shipping, Non-exclusive Survey companies, Insurance Companies, Coastal State including Administrations of Union territories/Islands and Maritime Boards”
“Piracy/armed robbery attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are becoming more violent with a greater tendency to attack, hijack and rob vessels as well as kidnap crew, in the waters of Gulf of Guinea”
“These attacks having also been reported up to 170 nautical miles from the coast. In many of these incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, pirates have hijacked the vessel for several days, ransacked the vessel and stolen part cargo (usually gas oil). Additionally, in these past attacks, ship’s chew members have also been injured, kidnapped and in certain occasions taken ashore for ransom”
per IMO promulgated reports of attempted attacks by pirates and armed
robbers via the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS),
the sum total of the number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery in
West Africa, as reported to IMO in the 10 year period from 1 January
2009 to 31 December 2018, was 555”
“Additionally, the number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships in West Africa as per GISIS covering the period 1 January to 31 December 2018 was 81 and reflected a comparable increase from 49 incidents reported in 2017. During these ten years, 2018 also shows the highest in the number of episodes, with 3 ships reported hijacked and 86 crew held hostage in that year”
“Additionally, there appears to be an increasing trend in the number of incidents taking place inside the various Coastal States jurisdiction in the Gulf of Guinea. From two recent incidents, it has come to the attention of this Directorate that foreign nationals especially Indian seafarers are being selectively targeted during such piracy/armed robbery incidents”
“Accordingly, all RPSL agents are instructed to not engage any Indian seafarers on coastal vessels trading solely within the ports in Gulf of Guinea (i.e. Benin, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea). All concerned stakeholders are also advised to take note of the information provided in this advisory and act accordingly” it says