2 May 2007 - 13:54
  • News Code: 103712

LOS ANGELES -- Oil tankers and installations off Nigeria continue to be a main target of pirate attacks, despite a downward trend elsewhere around the globe, reported the International Maritime Bureau, which said the global total of attacks in 2006 was 239, down from 276 in 2005.

IMB attributed the overall decline in attacks to tighter enforcement and better cooperation among countries sharing borders. In the first 3 months of 2007, it received 41 reports worldwide, down from 61 in the same period last year.


In its quarterly report released on Apr. 25, however, IMB said that Nigeria reported six attacks between January and March 2007 against ships, including a number of violent attacks against vessels and crew working on offshore oil installations where crew have been assaulted and abducted. In Nigeria, where IMB believes attacks against oil vessels are politically motivated, 40 crew members have been taken hostage or kidnapped.


IMB was critical of Nigeria, saying the country has a democratically elected government that seems unable to protect the trade in one of its major commodities, oil, despite having a substantial national and state police force and a navy that is better equipped and trained than many other countries in the region.


"Vessels operating in its oil industry have become the target of groups claiming a larger share of the oil business than apparently the government is prepared to give," IMB said. "It may be that these groups are politically motivated, but from the point of view of the international shipping community operating in these waters, their actions are nothing short of criminal."



News Code 103712

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