WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 313–349 | Cite as

A study of the role of seafarers in combating piracy off the coast of Nigeria

  • Kalu Kingsley Anele


Piracy off the coast of Nigeria portends grave danger to the economic, security, and sociopolitical development of the country. It also threatens both international and regional trade as well as the stability of the West African sub-region. Despite Nigerian government’s attempts to curb piracy caused by poverty, unemployment, including corrupt and weak maritime regulatory and security institutions, attacks by pirates have continued to occur off the country’s coast. Consequent upon the adverse effects of piratical attacks on their day to day activities, seafarers can facilitate the suppression of piracy off the Nigerian coast. This paper uses statistics, provisions of international instruments and domestic legislations, the United Nations Security Council resolutions, soft laws, and opinions of researchers to examine the nature, causes, and effects of piracy on seafarers in Nigeria. The author argues that seafarers are necessary partners to curb piracy off the coast of Nigeria through enforcing maritime security conventions and other related instruments as well as testifying against pirates during trials. In conclusion, this paper contends that acts of piracy adversely affect crew members’ life, health, family, job, and finance thereby providing an overwhelming motivation for seafarers to play a role in suppressing piracy off the Nigerian coast.


Seafarers Piracy UNCLOS MLC 2006 (as amended) Nigerian coast Petroleum industry 



  1. Churchill RR, Lowe AV (1999) The law of the sea, 3rd edn. Manchester University Press, ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  2. Davis MA (2008) Terrorism and the maritime transportation system: are we on a collision course? WingSpan Press, CAGoogle Scholar
  3. Fitzpatrick D, Anderson M (eds) (2005) Seafarers’ rights. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Hawkes GK (2003) Maritime security. Grade A Notes Publishing, OhioGoogle Scholar
  5. Kraska J (2011) Contemporary maritime piracy: international law, strategy, and diplomacy at sea. Praeger, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  6. Kristiansen S (2005) Maritime transport: safety management and risk analysis. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. OBP (2014) The state of maritime piracy 2014. One Earth Future Foundation, DenverGoogle Scholar
  8. Ukeje C, Ela MW (2013) African approaches to maritime security-the Gulf of Guinea. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, AbujaGoogle Scholar
  9. Zou K, Wu S (2009) Maritime security in the South China Sea: regional implications and international cooperation. Ashgate Publishing, LondonGoogle Scholar

Chapters in Books

  1. Murdoch A (2011) Recent legal issues and problems relating to acts of piracy off Somalia. In: Symmons CR (ed) Selected contemporary issues in the law of the sea. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, BostonGoogle Scholar
  2. Roach JA (2011) General problematic issues on exercise of jurisdiction over modern instances of piracy. In: Symmons CR (ed) Selected contemporary issues in the law of the sea. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, BostonGoogle Scholar
  3. Thomas M et al (2005) Finding a balance: companies, seafarers and family life. In: Leggate H et al (eds) International maritime transport. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar


  1. 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amendedGoogle Scholar


  1. Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003Google Scholar
  2. Employee’s Compensation Act 2010Google Scholar
  3. Exclusive Economic Zone Act Cap. E 17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010Google Scholar
  4. Merchant Shipping Act, Cap. M11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010Google Scholar
  5. National Health Act 2014Google Scholar
  6. Pensions Reform Act 2014Google Scholar
  7. Territorial Waters Act Cap. T5 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010Google Scholar

International Instruments

  1. Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, adopted 10 March 1988, 1678 UNTS 221 (entered into force 1 March 1992)Google Scholar
  2. Manila Amendments to the Annex to the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, IMO, STCW/CONF.2/33, 1 July, 2010Google Scholar
  3. Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, adopted by the 94th International Labour Conference in Geneva in February, 2006 (entered into force August 2013)Google Scholar
  4. The 2005 Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime NavigationGoogle Scholar
  5. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, adopted 10 December 1982, 1833 UNTS 3, (entered into force 16 November 1994)Google Scholar

United Nations Security Council Resolutions

  1. UNSC Resolution 2125 (18 November 2013) UN Doc S/RES/2125Google Scholar
  2. UNSC Resolution 1846 (2 December 2008) UN Doc S/RES/1846Google Scholar
  3. UNSC Resolution 1897 (30 November 2009) UN Doc S/RES/1897Google Scholar
  4. UNSC Resolution 2018 (31 October 2011) UN Doc S/RES/2018Google Scholar


  1. Abacha v. Fawehinmi (2000) 6 N.W.L.R. (Part 660)Google Scholar
  2. Castle John v NV Mabeco (1986) 77 ILR 537Google Scholar

Journal Articles

  1. Anele KK, Lee Y (2014) A study on strengthening control of maritime piracy in Nigeria’s territorial waters. Marit Law Rev 26(2)Google Scholar
  2. Bateman S (2012) Maritime security and port state control in the Indian Ocean region. J Indian Ocean Reg 8(2). doi: 10.1080/19480881.2012.730752
  3. Bento L (2011) Toward an international law of piracy sui generis: how the dual nature of maritime piracy law enables piracy to flourish. Berkeley J Int Law 29(2). doi:10.15779/Z38PD44Google Scholar
  4. Coutroubis A, Kiourktsoglou G (2012) Somali piracy: relation between crew nationality and vessel’s vulnerability to seajacking. Int J Marit Navig Saf Sea Transp 6(1)Google Scholar
  5. Essien SB, Adongoi T (2015) Sea piracy and security challenges of maritime business operation in Bayelsa State, Nigeria: an empirical study. Int J Humanit Soc Sci 5(2)Google Scholar
  6. Firestone J, Corbett J (2003) Maritime transportation: a third way for port and environmental security. Widener Law Symp J 9Google Scholar
  7. Guilfoyle D (2010) Counter-piracy law enforcement and human rights. Int Comp Law Q 59. doi: 10.1017/S002058930999011X
  8. Guilfoyle D (2008) Piracy off Somalia: UN security council resolution 1816 and IMO regional counterpiracy efforts. Int Comp Law Q 57Google Scholar
  9. Milena S (2012) Piracy off the coast of Somalia: the argument for pirate prosecution in the national courts of Kenya, the Seychelles, and Mauritius. Amst Law Forum 4(2)Google Scholar
  10. Milena S (2009) Fighting piracy in Somalia (and elsewhere): why more is needed. Fordham Int Law J 33(2)Google Scholar
  11. Okeke VOS, Aniche ET (2012) An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Cabotage Act 2003 on Nigerian maritime administration. Sacha J Policy Strateg Stud 2(1)Google Scholar
  12. Rengamani J, Murugan MS (2012) A study on the factors influencing the seafarers’ stress. AMET Int J ManagGoogle Scholar
  13. Usman A et al (2015) Evidence of petroleum resources on Nigerian economic development (2000–2009). Bus Econ J 6(2). doi: 10.4172/2151-6219.1000149
  14. Wambua MP (2012) The jurisdictional challenges to the prosecution of piracy cases in Kenya: mixed fortunes for a perfect model in the global war against piracy. World Marit Univ J Marit Aff 11. doi: 10.1007/s13437-012-0021-6
  15. Zou K (2009) New developments in the international law of the piracy. Chin J Int Law 8(2). doi: 10.1093/chinesejil/jmp006


  1. Central Bank of Nigeria (2014) Economic ReportGoogle Scholar
  2. Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (2010) Report of Working Group 3, 2nd SessionGoogle Scholar
  3. Dobbs P (2012) Piracy 2012: managing the risk. A report by Catlin Asset Protection, Catlin Group LimitedGoogle Scholar
  4. Hurlburt K (2011) The human cost of Somali piracy. Ocean Beyond Piracy, sponsored by the One Earth Future FoundationGoogle Scholar
  5. ICC-IMB (2016) Piracy and armed robbery against ships: report for the period of 1 January-31 December 2015Google Scholar
  6. ICC-IMB (2015) Piracy and armed robbery against ships: report for the period of 1 January-31 December 2014Google Scholar
  7. ICC-IMB (2014) Piracy and armed robbery against ships: report for the period 1 January-31 December, 2013Google Scholar
  8. Swift O (2013) Port levies and sustainable welfare for seafarers. A report commissioned by International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network, MayGoogle Scholar

Soft Laws

  1. Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (2011) Version4 (BMP4)Google Scholar
  2. Best Management Practices against Somali Based Piracy: A Quick Reference Guide to help Implement Best Management Practices for the Protection of Seafarers from Somali Based Piracy (2011) ABSGoogle Scholar
  3. IMO’s Code of Practice for the Investigation of the Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, IMO Assembly Resolution A. 1025 (26), adopted 18 December 2009Google Scholar
  4. IMO Revised Interim Guidance to Shipowners, Ship Operators and Shipmasters on the Use of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel on Board Ships in the High Risk Area, MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.2, 25 May, 2012Google Scholar
  5. International Maritime Organisation Resolution Adopting the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy, MSC. 1/Circ. 1339, 14 September, 2011Google Scholar
  6. Interim Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for Protection against Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Region, (To be read in conjunction with BMP4), prepared by Maritime Organisations made up of The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO); INTERTANKO and NATO Shipping CentreGoogle Scholar
  7. Interim Guidance to UK Flagged Shipping on the Use of Armed Guards to Defend against the Threat of Piracy in Exceptional Circumstances, Version 1.1, November 2011 (Updated Mays 2013), Department of Transport, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) (2011) A guide to BMP4Google Scholar


  1. Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts at Sea (and Other Related Offences) Bill 2008Google Scholar


  1. Anele KK (2016) A study of the suppression of piracy off Nigeria through the instrumentality of port state control, Dissertation, Korea Maritime and Ocean University, BusanGoogle Scholar
  2. Lanham H (2009) Walk the plank: Somali pirates and international law. Dissertation, University of OtagoGoogle Scholar
  3. Malhotra N (2007) Balancing seafarers’ welfare and maritime security with biometrics. Dissertation, World Maritime UniversityGoogle Scholar
  4. Matthew FD (2012) Securing the Gulf of Guinea: towards an integrated maritime Security strategy for the Gulf of Guinea. Dissertation, World Maritime UniversityGoogle Scholar

Conference/Seminar/Workshop Papers

  1. Anele KK (2015) The economic effect of piracy in Nigeria: an overview of the fishing industry. 2015 Winter Academy Seminar organised by the Korean Institute of Maritime Law held at the Korean Seafarers Welfare and Employment CenterGoogle Scholar
  2. Dutton MY (2010) Bringing pirates to Justice: a case for including piracy within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. One Earth Future Foundation Discussion PaperGoogle Scholar
  3. Ellis N et al (2012) Seafarer accommodation on contemporary cargo ships. The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust Research Unit, Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC), Cardiff UniversityGoogle Scholar
  4. Garfinkle SM et al (2012) The psychological impact of piracy on seafarers. The Seamen’s Church Institute, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Geving HI et al (2007) Physical activities levels among offshore fleet seafarers. International Maritime HealthGoogle Scholar
  6. Hodgson JRF (2011) The role of the International Maritime Organization in combating piracy. DMPP ResearchGoogle Scholar
  7. Hurlburt K et al (2013) The human cost of maritime piracy 2012. Working Paper, Oceans Beyond Piracy, a Project of One Earth Future FoundationGoogle Scholar
  8. Omo-Eboh O (2012) Legal framework for maritime security management: implications and impacts. A paper presented at the 4th Strategic Admiralty Seminar for Judges organised by NIMASA at the Orient Hotel, Victoria Island, LagosGoogle Scholar
  9. Stevenson BD (2012) The humanitarian response: seafarers health and welfare: can we declare victory and go home. A paper commissioned by the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) on behalf of the second United Arab Emirates Counter Piracy Conference, “A Regional Response to Maritime Piracy: Enhancing public-Private Partnerships and Strengthening Global Engagement,” organised by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with global port operator DP World, held in DubaiGoogle Scholar
  10. Study on the psychological impact of piracy on seafarers (2012) Officer of the Watch, Seamen’s Church InstituteGoogle Scholar
  11. Wilson I (2011) Legal issues in maritime labour and seafarers claims. A paper presented at the Admiralty Resource Services, 3rd Admiralty Seminar for JudgesGoogle Scholar


  1. Bateman S (2010) Tackling piracy in Asia: the current situation and outlook. Glob Asia 5(4)Google Scholar
  2. Ebosele M (2013) New ‘Bill of Rights’ for seafarers comes into force. The GuardianGoogle Scholar
  3. International Chamber of Shipping (2014) Annual ReviewGoogle Scholar
  4. Look after your people…and they will look after you (2008) The International Maritime Human Element Bulletin, Iss. No. 18Google Scholar
  5. Mitropoulos E (2005) Putting the seafarer first. ITF Seafarers’ BulletinGoogle Scholar
  6. Orji UJ (2011) How has the Nigerian maritime industry performed in the last 50 years. Ships and Ports WeeklyGoogle Scholar
  7. UK Chamber of Shipping (2013–2014) Annual ReviewGoogle Scholar

Internet Sources

  1. Airhuobor A (2013) Bridging the human capacity gap in maritime industry. Daily Independent. Accessed 24 July 2016
  2. Anyiam H (2014) The legalities of Gulf of Guinea maritime crime with suggested solutions. Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC). Accessed 27 May 2016
  3. Anyimadu A (2013) Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea: lessons learned from the Indian Ocean. Chatham House, Africa 2013/02. Accessed 27 May 2016
  4. Balbaa A Protecting seafarer’s rights- the need to review the implementation of the ISPS Code. < Accessed 23 April 2016
  5. Bateman S (2010) Sea piracy: some inconvenient truths. Accessed 27 May 2016
  6. Bateman S Ship vulnerability, port state control, flag state responsibilities and maritime security. Accessed 26 May 2016
  7. Beckman R, Palakrihman S (2012) Regional cooperation to combat piracy and international maritime crimes: the importance of ratification and implementation of global conventions. Conference on the Practices of the UNCLOS and the Resolution of South China Sea Disputes, National Taiwan Normal University. Accessed 27 May 2016
  8. Benin’s maritime security challenge in the Gulf of Guinea (2015) West African Report: Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Iss. 12. Accessed 26 May 2016
  9. Bivbere G (2015) Oil industry rejects Nigerian certified seafarers. Vanguard. Accessed 27 May 2016
  10. Bridger J (2013) Crafting a counter-piracy regime in the Gulf of Guinea. Center for International Maritime Security (CIMS). Accessed 27 May 2016
  11. Bridger J (2014) The world’s most violent pirates. USNI News. Accessed 27 May 2016
  12. Brown T (2014) A time for change on seafarers abandonment. Seacurus Insurance Bulletin, Iss. 33. Accessed 27 May 2016
  13. Chikere C (2014) Remodelling Nigeria’s seafarers development programme. Daily Independent. < Accessed 26 May 2016
  14. Chinese crew keep pirates at bay (2009) The Sea, Iss. 198. Accessed 26 May 2016
  15. DFA lauds measures undertaken by MV Beluga Fortune seafarers to repel piracy attacks (2010) Press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Official Gazette. Accessed 26 May 2016
  16. Doumbia-Henry C et al (2006) The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 consolidates seafarers’ labour instruments. American Society of International Law, Vol. 10, Iss. 23. Accessed 26 May 2016
  17. Fedeli T (2010) The rights and liabilities of private actors: pirates, master, and crew. One Earth Future Foundation Working Paper. Accessed 27 May 2016
  18. Guilfoyle D (2013) Political motivation and piracy: what history doesn’t teach us about law. Blog of the European Journal of International Law. Accessed 27 May 2016
  19. Gilmore JG Shipper-supplied security is best defense against pirates, Flournoy says. U.S. Department of Defense. Accessed 26 May 2016
  20. Heller JK (2013) Why political ends are public ends, not private ends, Opinio Juris. Accessed 27 May 2016
  21. ILO Input to the Chapter on Maritime Security and Safety of the Report of the Secretary-General on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, to the Sixty-third Session of the General Assembly. Accessed 27 May 2016
  22. Industry concern (2014) Seacurus Insurance Bulletin, Iss. 31. Accessed 26 May 2016
  23. Institute of Cetacean & Others v Sea Shepherd Conservation Society & Another, D.C. No. 2: 11-cv-02043-RAJ, 2013. Accessed 25 April 2016
  24. ITF Collected $59.5m in Unpaid Seafarer Wages in 2014 (2015) Ship & Ports. Accessed 27 May 2016
  25. Iwori J (2011) Bill to domesticate treaties on piracy, waterways robbery underway. ThisDay Live. Accessed 27 May 2016
  26. Iwori J (2014) NIMASA to review seafarers’ condition of service. Thisday. Accessed 27 May 2016
  27. Iwori J (2015) What hope for Nigerian seafarers. Thisday. Accessed 27 May 2016
  28. Jeong K (2015) Diverse piracy patterns and different control mechanisms. A paper for the ISA Global South Caucus Conference. Accessed 26 May 2016
  29. Kairis S (2013) MLC 2006 enforcement through port state control inspection in ports (MLC Regulation 5.2.1). Officer of the Watch. Accessed 27 May 2016
  30. Liwag H et al (2014) Ship security challenges in high-risk areas: manageable or insurmountable? World Maritime University Journal of Maritime Affairs. Accessed 27 May 2016
  31. Neethling T (2010) Piracy around Africa’s west and east coasts: a comparative political perspective. Scientia Militaria, South African Journal of Military Studies, Vol. 38, No. 2. Accessed 26 May 2016
  32. NEITI’s financial, physical and process audit: an independent report assessing and reconciling physical and financial flows within Nigeria’s oil and gas industry 2012 (2015) presented by Taju Audu & Co. Accessed 27 May 2016
  33. Nigeria boosts safety in its waters (2014) World Maritime News. Accessed 27 May 2016
  34. Nigeria: MLC 2006 comes into force in Nigeria (2014) Daily Independent. Accessed 27 May 2016
  35. Nigeria: NIMASA moves to address seafarers’ conditions (2012) ThisDay. Accessed 26 May 2016
  36. Nigerian seafarers deserve much better (2014) Ships & Ports, 30 June. Accessed 27 May 2016
  37. Nigerian shipping: stakeholders advocate for ‘national carrier status’ (2014). Accessed 26 May 2016
  38. Nigeria: towards a secured maritime domain (2014) AllAfrica. Accessed 27 May 2016
  39. Nincic JD (2013) Maritime security: current threats and implications. Pacific Maritime Online Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 10. Accessed 27 May 2016
  40. O’Brien M (2013) Where security meets justice: prosecuting maritime piracy in the International Criminal Court. Asian Journal of International Law. Accessed 27 May 2016
  41. Ocean atlas repels piracy attacks (2013) Accessed 27 May 2016
  42. Oceans and the law of the sea (2015) Report of the Secretary-General, Seventieth Session, Item 80 (a) of the Preliminary List, Ocean and the Law of the Sea, United Nations. Accessed 27 May 2016
  43. Onuoha CF (2012) Piracy and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea: Nigeria as a microcosm. Aljazeera Center for Studies. Accessed 26 May 2016
  44. Overseas training for more Nigerian seafarers. Sweet Crude Report. Accessed 27 May 2016
  45. Resch T (2010) Combating piracy today- a comprehensive analysis of how to counter the menace of piracy using the example of attacks by Somali pirates around the Horn of Africa. Dissertation, University of Cape Town. Accessed 27 May 2016
  46. Rider D (2014) The thriving business of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Neptune. Accessed 27 May 2016
  47. Santos UDL (2008) Law and policy perspectives of seafarers’ claim. Dissertation. Accessed 27 May 2016
  48. Seafarers suffer poor welfare-labour group (2015) Ogun State Television. Accessed 27 May 2016
  49. Shaughnessy T, Tobin E Flag of inconvenience: freedom and insecurity on the high sea. Accessed 26 May 2016
  50. Stevenson BD (2014) Piracy’s effects on seafarers: sailing in high risk areas and post piracy care. Brief paper, UAE Counter-Piracy Conference, Dubai. Accessed 27 May 2016
  51. Sun K (2013) Oil theft in Nigeria. International Policy Digest. Accessed 27 May 2016
  52. The Importance of the Indian Ocean Rim for Australia’s Foreign, Trade and Defence Policy (2013) Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, The Senate. Accessed 26 May 2016
  53. The Seventh National Assembly (2015) 2011–2015, Homepage of the National Assembly of Nigeria. Accessed 27 May 2016
  54. UNCTAD (2014) Part I: an overview of trends, cost and trade-related implications. Studies in Transport Law and Policy, No. 1. Accessed 26 May 2016
  55. Whiteman S, Suarez C (2012) Dalhousie marine piracy project: the root causes and true costs of maritime piracy. Marine Affairs Program Technical Report No. 1. Accessed 28 June 2016
  56. Yanchunas D (2014) Masters, shipowners face liability risk from armed guards’ mistake. Professional Mariner, Iss. No. 180. Accessed 27 May 2016

Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Maritime Transportation ScienceKorea Maritime and Ocean UniversityBusanSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations