Following series of pirate attacks on the country’s waters, Nigeria has now been declared the deadliest on earth, surpassing Somalia on Africa’s east coast.
A pirate attack which killed a supertanker crewman off the coast of Nigeria this week has stressed a growing threat off oil-rich West Africa, as vessels carrying millions of barrels of crude traverse a region that has become known as pirate alley.
The 2 million barrel Kalamos Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) was heading to Nigeria’s main oil terminal when it was attacked last week, leaving the ship’s Greek deputy captain dead and three crew members taken hostage.
According to Ken Johnson, regional analyst with Dryad Maritime, security experts now refer to Nigeria’s territorial waters as pirate alley and kidnap alley.
Johnson, who provides operations and intelligence advice to the shipping industry, said there was another deadly attack on a ship in the region last month when pirates killed a Nigerian naval seaman aboard the oil support vessel, MV Jascon.
Cyrus Mody, assistant director of the piracy-tracking International Maritime Bureau said the incidents in the region were hugely under-reported due to fear of further attacks, concerns over insurance or a belief that information on vessels is sensitive or proprietary.