In view of the significant increase in piracy in the waters surrounding West Africa, particularly Nigeria, UK P&I Club has canvassed for third party risk assessment prior to any voyages in the region as this may lead to increase in insurance claims.
The maritime protection and indemnity insurance provider warned that vessels were most at risk when anchored or approaching a port.
They recommended that crew augment security measures in the region, including additional watch-keeping, locking doors and barricading stairwells.
They also stressed the importance of a third party risk assessment prior to any voyages in the region.
Experts say the warning not only highlights the elevated risk of piracy in West Africa over recent weeks, but also the ramifications that high risk areas pose to insurers covering shipping companies operating in the region.
President Muhammadu Buhari has yet to formulate a clear plan to tackle piracy in Nigerian waters, since his inauguration in late May.
Moreover, his election has seen a downturn in government relations with militants in the Niger Delta and a subsequent increase in criminality, which may also be reflected in an elevated threat of piracy in the coming year.
In consideration of the fact that reports of unauthorised personnel attempting to gain access to vessels in Nigerian waters are a growing trend, crews are advised to remain vigilant to this threat and only allow access to those with appropriate identification and with confirmation of owners or agents if unsure.
A small boat approached a vessel at anchor in SAA Apapa Anchorage recently and threw a letter to the crew on deck that states they were allowed to board. The master onboard said the letter was not genuine and notified the authorities. The Nigerian navy subsequently arrested the crew of the small boat.