January 29th, 2014, PSV Cee Jay liner was attacked by pirates and boarded off the coast of Bayelsa State. The Pirates kidnapped the Master and Chief Engineer and robbed the crew. The next day, the Tug Lamnalco Hawk was attacked and boarded by 3 pirates in Pennington Terminal area of the same Bayelsa State.
2014 is continuing a harrowing trend that has won Nigeria a top position in the global high sea piracy charts. As Nigeria achieves greater ‘successes’ in events of boat capture and robbery, global levels have recorded appreciated drops. The total events of piracy according to the International Maritime Bureau were 264 in 2014 compared to 297 in 2012 and 439 in 2011. But events off West Africa’s coast are increasing.
Of the 51 events in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria had 31 last year, overtaking Somalia on the east of the continent, which had only 15 episodes of Piracy that same year. Reports have it that Nigerian pirates are even involved in cases far out from its bay, across Togo, Gabon and all the way up to Ivory Coast, making the registered total Nigerian events lower than actual.
Though Indonesia had the greatest total number of events, these were low level opportunistic thefts. Africa’s shores recorded the most dangerous high level incidents of piracy globally, with Nigeria topping the list.
Nigeria’s Joint Task Force, JTF is reported to have increased efforts to stem the increases in these terror events off Nigeria’s shores; however a lack of proper redress for criminals and a culture of impunity for successful thieves, makes the impact of its effort to combat this new vocation of the nation’s Southern states questionable.
An extensive report on oil theft in the Niger Delta in October last year by the Stakeholder Democracy Network, SDN, indicted the very JTF and maritime police in aiding and abetting these criminal activities; actually levying taxes and receiving payments to protect and oversee the activities of the hoodlums.
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