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Gulf of Guinea Focus: Week 4


10,166 Illegal Refineries, Connections Destroyed In Three Years – NNPCL
10,166 Illegal Refineries, Connections Destroyed In Three Years – NNPCL

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, said a total of 10,166 illegal refineries and crude oil connections were destroyed in Nigeria since 2021. It specifically stated that over 5,686 illegal refinery sites were destroyed, while 4,480 illegal crude oil connections were removed during the review period. NNPCL’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, disclosed this while speaking as a guest lecturer during the 2024 Faculty Lecture titled, “Energy Security, Sustainability and Profitability in Nigeria: Advances, Challenges and Opportunities,” organised by the Faculty of Science of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.


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Seafarer Safety Comes First In Red Sea –IMO Scribe
Seafarer Safety Comes First In Red Sea –IMO Scribe

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has stressed that seafarer safety was paramount in the context of the Red Sea and attacks on international shipping. During a meeting with shipping industry representatives IMO Secretary-General; Arsenio Dominguez reiterated the message that seafarers are innocent victims in the volatile Red Sea situation. He said that, in addition to safety of seafarers, freedom of navigation must also be upheld, to guarantee global trade and the flow of goods by sea. According to him, “further, there must be caution and restraint to avoid further escalation of the situation in the Red Sea and broader area”. Mr. Dominguez was referencing the UN Security Council Resolution 2722 (2024) on the Red Sea.


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Navy Hands Over Seized Trawler, 13 Crew Members To Department of Fisheries
Navy Hands Over Seized Trawler, 13 Crew Members To Department of Fisheries

The Nigerian Navy handed over a fishing trawler MFV Lady Jessica ll and its 13 crew members to the Federal Department of Fisheries in Bayelsa State. The trawler was arrested on Dec. 11 by the Navy’s Forward Operating Base (FOB) Formoso while trawling within an area reserved for artisanal fishing boats. It was reportedly arrested at a position that was less than five nautical miles from the shore around the entrance to Pennington River. The handing over was held at a brief ceremony at the Forward Operating Base, Egwema, Brass and performed by the Commanding Officer, Capt. Murtala Rogo, represented by the Executive Officer, FOB, Commander Dantani Bukar. ”Let me also add that the Nigerian Navy will not relent in its effort to police and enforce maritime laws. To this end, I wish to advise all mariners to be law-abiding as they engage the Nigerian maritime domain for their individual businesses.


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Lekki Deep Seaport Welcomes Largest Container Vessel to Nigerian Waters
Lekki Deep Seaport Welcomes Largest Container Vessel to Nigerian Waters

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) announced the successful berthing of the largest container vessel to navigate the nation’s waters at the Lekki Deep Seaport. Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director of NPA, confirmed this significant achievement in a statement released in Lagos. The vessel, named “Maersk Edirne,” measures 367 meters in length, boasts a breadth of 48.2 meters, and carries an impressive Gross Registered Tonnage of 142,131 metric tonnes. With a Dead Weight Tonnage of 147,340 metric tonnes and a total cargo onboard of 3,376, the vessel was safely guided by the highly experienced and well-equipped pilots of the NPA.


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IMB Reports Rise in Piracy, Dangers to Crews in 2023
IMB Reports Rise in Piracy, Dangers to Crews in 2023

There was a slight increase in the number of piracy incidents in 2023 versus 2022 according to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center, but they point to several concerning trends within the statistics. After highlighting that piracy had fallen to 30-year lows, the IMB is now raising concerns for crew safety while singling out several hotspots that remain the primary areas of concern. Five areas around the globe made up 70 percent of the 120 incidents recorded in 2023, which was up from 115 total reports received by the bureau in 2022. However, 67 of the reports in 2023 came from Southeast Asia, and specifically the Singapore Strait, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Both the IMB and ReCAAP, which focuses specifically on Asia, have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the Singapore Strait with IMB saying in its year-end analysis “The Singapore Straits remain an area of concern due to the high number of incidents.”


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ITF Decries Rise in Seafarer Abandonments
ITF Decries Rise in Seafarer Abandonments

A recent report by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has shown an alarming 11% rise in the number of crew abandonment cases in 2023 compared to the previous year. The ITF reported a total of 132 abandonments, which is 13 cases more than in 2022. The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) stipulates that a ship is considered abandoned if the shipowner fails to cover the cost of a seafarer’s repatriation, fails to provide necessary maintenance and support, or severs ties with them, including not paying contractual wages for at least two months. The ITF report also reveals that unpaid wages from 129 cases exceeded $12.1 million, 1,676 seafarers from abandoned vessels reached out to the ITF, and Indian seafarers were the most impacted with over 400 reported cases.


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