As the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (ICC IMB) releases it latest piracy figures for the year so far, Intertanko and Bimco recently met with Rear Admiral Osondo, Nigerian Navy’s Head of Standards and Transformation, who was directed to brief the Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff on issues related to security in Nigerian waters. In his briefing, the Admiral expanded on the steps taken by the Nigerian Navy to effectively police its waters, stating that they have started to station floating operating bases in the Niger Delta and, coupled with a new monitoring process supplied by the US Navy, are able to interdict pirates at a very early stage.
The main briefing point was that Nigerian officials are now only allowing naval guards to operate in the area on board Nigerian naval-operated armed vessels. The navy wished to be explicit and make it crystal clear that armed guards are no longer allowed on board merchant vessels. This rule applies to anyone carrying a firearm, whether from the navy, police or any other agency civilian or military. They warned that any vessel found with armed guards on board would be detained and if the guards were from the navy, then they would face sanctions.
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