By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Fishing Trawlers Association, NITOA, has said that the country lost N30 billion to pirate attacks on fishing vessels in the last four years, a development that is responsible for the decline in the nationâ€™s fishing industry.
Meanwhile, the International Maritime Bureau, IMB, recorded 200 pirate attacks on vessels in Nigeria contrary to the 40 cases reported by the Nigerian authorities.
According to NITOAÂ President,Â Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, the 293 documented sea robberies aimed at Nigerian-owned fishing vessels between 2003 and 2008.
She disclosed that in a particular week, about 20 vessels suffered massive attacks while 10 crewmen lost their lives to the attacks.
Orakwusi explained that most of the attacks saw the nessels being held for ransom, while others were carried by villagers who demanded toll to allow theÂ vessels to pass.
According to her, â€œThis piratical activity cost NigeriaÂ $200 million in four years, it has also been responsible for the decline in Nigeriaâ€™s fishing industry from 40 companiesÂ with 250 registered vessels to 19 with 170 vessels.”