MARAN Rallies Stakeholders to Address Maritime Crimes in Gulf of Guinea

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Worried by recent resurgence of piracy incidents and security threats in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) in the first half of 2023, Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) is dedicating the maiden edition of the MARAN Annual Maritime Lecture (MAMAL) 2023 to Maritime Security.

Mr Godfrey Bivbere, President MARAN, said this in a statement in Lagos.

MARAN President, Godfrey Bivbere
MARAN President, Godfrey Bivbere

According to Bivbere, the inaugural edition of MAMAL 2023 is themed: “Maritime Security: Emerging Threats and Actionable Steps” .

“The theme is targeted at proffering long-term, sustainable solutions that will effectively address maritime crimes in the GoG region and protect seafaring and fishing communities in the affected countries,” he said.

Recall that the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report of July 2023 confirmed that the GoG witnessed a surge in maritime incidents in 2023, with five incidents in the first quarter and nine in the second quarter.

Out of these, 12 were classified as armed robberies and two as piracy, predominantly targeting anchored vessels in the region.
According to the IMB report, in these incidences, 14 crew were kidnapped, of which 8 crew members were taken from vessels anchored within the GoG territorial waters.

Additionally, in two separate hijackings, 31 crew members were held hostage, communication and navigation equipment were destroyed, and partial cargoes were stolen. One of these incidents also involved the abduction of 6 crew members.

He pointed out that MARAN, as the foremost umbrella body of journalists covering the Nigerian maritime sector, had identified and commended the collaborative initiatives and efforts of the Nigerian Navy.

The MARAN president noted that the intiative which was in partnership with other security agencies, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), other regional navies and maritime administrations led to a significant reduction in piracy incidents on Nigerian waters and the GoG throughout 2022.

He said that to a large extent, the establishment of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum for the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE) had enabled stakeholders within and outside the region to connect and discuss frequently on how best to tackle piracy in the area and this yielded verifiable results.

Bivbere pointed out that the effective deployment of Naval assets, warships, Falcon Eye, the Deep Blue Project assets, establishment of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime-related Offences Act 2019, among others are worthwhile accomplishments attributable to the Nigerian Navy in recent years.

He, however, said there was the need for consolidated efforts that would be explored at the summit.

“With the recent decision of China to join in the international anti-piracy effort in the Gulf of Guinea, MAMAL 2023 will also dissect the continuous presence of foreign navy frigates in the region for an evaluation of the positive impact and perceived threats.

“Following the recent extension of Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from 200 Nautical Miles to 350 Nautical Miles, MAMAL 2023 will be highlighting the capability of the Nigerian Navy and other agencies in providing adequate security for the zone,” he said.

The MARAN president said that the MAMAL 2023 had been scheduled to hold on 24th of October 2023.

The Nigerian Navy, regional navies and other stakeholders in maritime sector including Shipowners, NIMASA, Shipping Lines, Terminal Operators, Nigerian Shippers Council, major seafarers organisations are all expected to attend this epoch-making event.

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