…The Niger Delta region side of the Gulf of Guinea has the highest records of piracy among the 12 West African coastal areas
A court sitting in Port Harcourt on Tuesday has convicted three pirates from nine that were apprehended and charged for hijacking the vessel MV Elobey VI off Equatorial Guinea in March.
The three pirates were fined 10 million naira(equivalent $26,300) each under the new maritime law after pleaded guilty of the two counts of piracy. However, the trial of the other six who pleaded not guilty continues.
According to the Nigerian navy spokesman, Commodore Suleiman Dahun, the ruling was the first under the new maritime law passed in 2019 in prosecuting pirates.
The convictions which were served instead of jail term would serve as deterrent to pirates that have perpetually terrorised water vessels and shipping industry in the Gulf of Guinea accounting for over 90% of kidnaps, robberies and other form of attacks on the sea, as submitted by the International Maritme Bureau (IMB).
It was unfortunate that the Niger Delta region, according to experts is typically known for this brutal piracy despite the extension of Gulf of Guinea to about 12 Western African countries.
“We need to change the risk-to-reward ratio…,” IMB Director, Michael Howlett said. “Without an appropriate and proportionate deterrent, pirates and robbers will get more ruthless and more ambitious.”