By Ajibola Abayomi,
December 5, 2018.
Concerned seafarers have faulted the Nigerian Navy’s on rate of pirate attacks on the waters in recent times.
While the Nigerian Navy posited that no attack has been recorded for the past three months, the seafarers insisted that the attacks had increased within the period under review.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Habila Galabad had said during the fourth quarter sea exercise by the Navy in the week, that there was no attack by the pirates.
On the position of the navy, Galabad had said: “If you notice, in the past three months now, there has not been issue of piracy and that is because we have been able to arrest a lot of them.
“We have resolved to stop the pirates on the sea. We are trying to get them even at their shore bases. We are making efforts to get them even before their take off.
“We are using different tactics and you will notice that in the past three months, there is no issue of piracy.
On the other hand, the seafarers expressed worries over the insecurity at sea terrain claiming that lives and property were under threat from bandits on the nation’s territorial waters.
The Concerned Seafarers comprised Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association,(NMNOWTSSA) the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners and ratings from the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
Supporting the claim by the seafarers, NMNOWTSSA President, Engineer Matthew Alalade told newsmen that in the last month, attack on tankers and trawlers have been a reoccurring decimal.
He lamented the non presence of security agencies at the sea line. Shocked by mode of operations of the pirates, he noted that they were ill-equipped yet wrecking havoc with wooden boats with low engine capacity.
He said his members who work aboard tankers and trawlers have been constantly reporting the case to the union’s headquarters in the last one month.
Alade appealed to the security agencies to bring the situation under control.He was worried that the bandits carted away belongings of his members and extort money from the crew as well.
He faulted the Navy authorities over alleged illegal arrest and detention of seafarers, saying the law enforcement agency hardly apprehends the pirates and sea robbers who perpetrated crimes.