A critical analysis of the implications of Covid-19 on piracy off the Nigerian coast

Kalu Kingsley Anele


The objective of this paper is to analyse the implications of Covid-19 to the Nigerian piracy and to suggest measures to suppress the crime. While piracy is rife off the Nigerian coast due to heavy vessel traffic in the country’s oil and gas industry, the onshore causes of piracy, like unemployment, have worsened because of Covid-19 preventive measures introduced in Nigeria. This research critically analyses legal instruments, data and scholarly publications to determine the effect of Covid-19 to piracy in Nigeria. Though the emergence of Covid-19 significantly aggravated some of the onshore causes of piracy, like poverty, which could potentially increase the number of piratical acts off the Nigerian coast, data suggested that the number of piratical acts has not increased yet. This paper argued that this was due to the restriction of movement, the docking of vessels to curb the spread of Covid-19 and the restriction of vessels without thermal screening kit from operating in Nigerian waters. The paper concluded that notwithstanding that Covid-19 may not have affected the number of piracy incidences in Nigeria, there is a possibility of increase in the number of piratical attacks in Nigerian waters post Covid-19, especially after easing Covid-19 countermeasures. This was because the emergence of Covid-19 has escalated the onshore causes of piracy in the country and the movement restrictions have been partially lifted. This research suggested that finding a lasting solution to the onshore causes of piracy was key to curbing piracy off the Nigerian waters during and post Covid-19.


Piracy, Covid-19, Nigeria, SPOMO Act, LOSC

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5102/rdi.v18i2.7332

ISSN 2236-997X (impresso) - ISSN 2237-1036 (on-line)

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