BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
No fewer than 56 Nigerian mariners have been kidnapped and killed by sea pirates on the nation’s territorial waters, a report by Dryad Maritime has shown.
According to the renowned maritime security firm, Dryad Maritime, in the latest report released recently, there seems to be no signs of piracy abating in the Gulf of Guinea, with the number of attacks ramping up off Bonny Island over the past few weeks.
The firm, in the latest report sighted by LEADERSHIP Weekend, says there have been 15 attacks against commercial ships reported within 60 nautical miles radius of Bony Island in recent weeks.
The report also states that the attacks led to the death of at least 56 seafarers in 2017 alone in serial attacks by sea pirates across the volatile Gulf of Guinea, where Nigeria is prominent maritime actor.
“Unfortunately, it is the seafarers who pay the highest price as they ended up being held for ransom as a highly-valued commodity.
‘‘Sometimes, their ordeals last for years as talks between shipowners and pirates hit a stalemate, other times, they are left to be rescued by maritime forces or they manage to escape. This year alone, 56 mariners have been kidnapped off the Niger Delta,’’ Dryad Maritime said.
The security outfit also forecasts that the attacks against shipping in the Gulf of Guinea are likely to continue their target being kidnapping seafarers for ransom.
But, the director general of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has assured that the agency is working with stakeholders and the global maritime community to ensure that the menace of piracy is totally stamped out in the Gulf of Guinea in order to allow for free flow of trade in the region.