Beware of Pirates and Offshore Attacks as Nigeria Presidential Election Draws Near

By Sunny Oputa

Offshore exploration and production operations go with high of risk and so is the return on investment when things go right.  One of the greatest risks that will face offshore and deep water activities in 2019 will no longer be simply huge investment in OPEX and CAPEX. The significant danger will be a possible increase in the activities of sea pirates and attacks by interest groups.

As election period draws nearer for a country like Nigeria and considering the polarizing role of oil in Nigeria’s politics .it is important to warn that three weeks to the presidential election and eight months after the election that operators of offshore assets, facilities and equipment should increase their security surveillance to avert pirate attacks and random mayhems from interest groups.

It should be recalled that on a last week social media post by EOS Risk Group analyst shared that pirates boarded the Saavedra Tide offshore support vessel that was on its way from the Abo field to Egina FPSO. According to the post the vessel is owned by Tidewater and the incident happened around 8.00pm local time.

Although there was no open news for kidnap for a ransom or known death, Jake Longworth, Senior Intelligence Analyst at EOS Risk Group warned that vessels near Egina, Akpo, and Agbami fields should maintain heightened vigilance.

The same report stated that according to a recent report by International Maritime Bureau, for the nine months ended September 30, 2018, there were 41 actual and attempted attacks on vessels in Nigeria, which was the highest number in the world for the period. Nigeria is followed by Indonesia which had 31 attacks.

After Nigeria, two nations in Africa that follow the highest attack of pirates are Togo and Ghana.

According to IMB, Pirates in Nigeria are often well armed, violent and have attacked hijacked and robbed vessels, kidnapped crews along the coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters.

While the number of attacks seems to be the biggest in Nigeria, data from EOS Risk Group shows that Nigerian pirates are also responsible for attacks not just in Nigerian waters, but in those of the neighboring countries.

It is considered that the balancing of the oil market with increase in prices within the month of October to November, 2018 jolted the appetite of pirates within oil producing countries.

As Nigeria presidential election between incumbent President Buhari and former VP and staunch business man Atiku draws near with various definitions on ideological, interest and political leanings, it is anticipated that business fueled and politically motivated pirate and offshore attacks meant to send messages may not be ruled out. 

Piracy Map in West Africa with data collected between 5th Dec 2017 – 5th Dec 2018 / Map and stats supplied by EOS Risk Group / For full resolution right click on the map > Open image in new tab

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