IMO expresses worry over escalating attacks on ships in Gulf of Guinea

• To convene security meeting in May

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, has expressed deep concern about the escalation in the number and severity of attacks on ships and crew in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) region. This is even as the IMO Secretary-General insisted on the need for all stakeholders to work together to restore security and reduce the threats to the safety and security of crews and vessels operating in the region.

In a circular letter No. 4382, issued in February 2021, the apex maritime organisation said that the urgency of the situation has been underlined by the attack on the container ship Mozart on January 23, 2021, which resulted in a fatality and the kidnapping of 15 seafarers.

The Secretary-General said that IMO has been taking action to enhance the coordination of initiatives among stakeholders, including facilitating meetings with representatives of the industry, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Interregional Coordination Centre for the Implementation of Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa (ICC).

The Secretary-General also highlighted that ships need to implement the IMO endorsed Best Management Practices (BMP) for West Africa (WA) to avoid, deter, delay and report attacks. The BMP cover risk assessment, ship protection measures and reporting.

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“IMO intends to convene a maritime security working group focusing on the Gulf of Guinea at the next session of the Maritime Safety Committee, MSC 103, scheduled to take place in May 2021. This will provide an opportunity for Member States and international organisations to discuss further collaboration and possible action to address the existing problems.

“IMO will continue to provide technical assistance to the Member States in the region regarding the implementation of maritime security measures. The Organisation is currently working with the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) to assist with the implementation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC), a regional code aimed at enhancing maritime security and addressing piracy, armed robbery against ships, illegal fishing and other illicit maritime activity,” the United Nations arm in charge of maritime activities stated in the circular.

The IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund enable the Organisation’s maritime security capacity-building programme to assist Gulf of Guinea coastal States as well as regional centres under the framework of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.

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IMO expresses worry over escalating attacks on ships in Gulf of Guinea

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