Seafarers have the right to operate free from the fear of kidnap or capture. But improved security in the Gulf of Guinea will also boost Nigerian industry. There is an opportunity to pursue win-win cooperation,

...he said.

The remarks come in response to recent data showing a surge in crew kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea, that increased by more than 50% in 2019.

For example, 20 crew members were kidnapped from the MT Duke on 15 December 2019, with one of those crew members dying in captivity.

Meanwhile, over 90% of global kidnappings reported at sea took place in this region.

While ICS recognizes that Nigeria is improving its maritime security capability through programmes such as the Deep Blue Project and applauds these measures, "now it is the time to see real results in terms of action at sea and in the capture and prosecution of pirates," the Chamber noted.

We welcome efforts of the Nigerian Navy to respond to reported incidents of piracy by dispatching patrol boats. However, the spike in incidents indicates in 2019 and this year has shown just how far away we are from solving this endemic issue. The declining rate of piracy incidents elsewhere reinforces the importance of communication and coordination between vessels and authorities. The more information national governments and relevant authorities have on piracy trends, the stronger piracy prevention efforts will be,

...Mr. Poulsson stressed.

In order to respond to this threat, practical and effective assistance should be provided to coastal States to improve their Maritime Security in a meaningful way, and Naval assets in the region need to be prepared to respond to piracy incidents, ICS says.

The shipping industry is ready and willing to work with all parties to bring an end to this endemic blight to free trade.