Maritime Security Intelligence Briefing: 18th May 2022
Date Range: 11th - 18th of May 2022
The Purpose of the Report
The purpose of this report is to present the latest intelligence on Nigeria and the Gulf of
Guinea. Key judgements are the main takeaways from the intelligence collected and analysed. A more detailed breakdown of events which make up the key judgements is presented in the intelligence section.
Our key judgements this week are:
The Nigerian government and the maritime sector have launched a new strategy to combat piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Nigerian president condemned his security services for not preventing the Kuje jailbreak last week. Coupled with a lack of response from security services and a lack of resignations or a reshuffle of government, commentators have suggested weakness from the government and the increasing sophistication of extremist groups.
12 reported piracy incidents occurred in the Gulf of Guinea in the first half of this year with no kidnappings. Overall, piracy events globally are at the lowest in 28 years. However, the industry should still be cautious as reducing efforts could undo gains made in maritime security.
The Nigerian Navy has condemned the country's court system stating that sentences are too lenient to combat and deter piracy.
Piracy Events and Warnings
No recorded incidents of piracy or piracy warnings this week.
11th of May 2022
- The Nigerian government, including the Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and
Safety Agency (NIMASA), with representatives from the shipping industry, including the
International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO, the Oil Companies International Marine
(OCIMF), Intertanko and Intercargo have launched a new strategy to eliminate piracy. The
strategy aims to assess counter-piracy measures in the Gulf of Guinea and analyse where
operations can be improved. Whilst the effort is a welcome one, the elimination of piracy will
come from investment in the Niger River Delta area which will stop piracy from becoming an
appealing prospect. (Confidence - Very High).
12th of May 2022
- The International Maritime Bureau released its Half 1 Piracy Report, and the statistics show
the lowest recorded piracy incidents in 28 years. Twelve incidents were recorded in the Gulf of Guinea, which continues a decrease in incidents from the same period from 2020. Moreover, there have been no incidents of kidnap and ransom in the Gulf of Guinea so far this year. These statistics indicate the success of maritime security efforts. Despite this, 96% of the vessels attacked were boarded, indicating an inefficiency in current vessel hardening methods. (Confidence Level - Very High).
- The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, has condemned his security services for failing to prevent an attack on his convoy and a simultaneous attack on the Kuje medium-security prison. The attack occurred on July 5th and saw over 900 inmates, including 64 Boko Haram members, freed at the prison 50km outside Abuja, the country's capital. The Islamic State In West Africa Province (ISWAP) has since claimed responsibility. Boko Haram and ISIS have been allies since 2015. Commentators have suggested that the lack of response from the government indicates weakness or lack of care and that the simultaneous attack further suggests the increasing sophistication of terrorist groups in the region. These sentiments echo the UN's concern last week about the expansion of such groups in West Africa and the Sahel. (Confidence Level - High).
13th of May 2022
- The Director of Legal for the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Jamila Malafa, has criticised the
Federal High Court judges. She has argued that powers under the Suppression of Piracy and
Other Marine Offences (SPOMO) Act have resulted in lenient sentencing of perpetrators
through short jail terms and fines. Commodore Jamila argues that these sentences must be far harsher to deter piracy. (Confidence Level - High).
17th of May 2022
- The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the world's largest membership
organisation for all aspects of the maritime sector, including ship owners and charterers, has
called on all Deep Blue assets to be deployed to keep the piracy numbers in the Gulf of Guinea on the decline. Deep Blue was launched by the Nigerian government last month as an operation to bind all aspects of Nigerian forces, including the army, navy, police and
intelligence, to combat piracy. BIMCO's recommendation comes after IMB's report stated that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is declining. (Confidence - High).
Description of Terms
Terminology in this report relates to descriptions used by maritime security and intelligence communities. To gain an understanding of what these mean, they shall be outlined in this section. These piracy attack definitions are based on the United Kingdom Maritime Traffic Organisation (UKMTO) definitions.
Suspicious Approach - Where a vessel, usually a small craft like a skiff, approaches a ship at a definite angle with speed that cannot be attributed to weather conditions. Such approaches are not in line with normal vessel behaviour and can occur as a sudden change of course or a prolonged approach.
Attack - Where a ship has been approached by an unidentified vessel and shots have been fired.
Boarding - Where pirates come aboard a vessel but do not gain control.
Robbery - Where a ship has been boarded by pirates and contents of the ship, such as cargo or personal belongings of the crew, have been stolen.
Hijacking - Where pirates board a vessel and take control from the ship's crew. Hijackings of ships do not always have the same objectives.
Kidnapping - Where pirates take the crew of a ship hostage in return for a ransom. Usually taken ashore to await payment but this is not always the case.
Terminology related to intelligence provided in the report shall be laid out here. These are based on the US Intelligence Community guidelines for report analytics and layout.
Confidence - Relates to confidence in the sources from which the intelligence is gathered. If confidence is high, there is a high degree of reliability from the source/sources. If confidence is low, then there is doubt over the veracity of the source's claims.
According to the IMB, 96% of the vessels attacked were successfully boarded.
It can be assumed that given that razor wire is the most widely adopted perimeter protection countermeasure, it has failed in nearly all instances to prevent boarding.
It can be said with a high degree of certainty that razor wire will have little to no effect in
mitigating the risk of boarding.
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