Ross Kemp: In Search Of Pirates on One

9:40pm Monday, June 7 on TV One

Following the success of Ross Kemp On Gangs, Kemp decides to investigate another dangerous and little-known group of people – pirates – in Ross Kemp: In Search Of Pirates tonight at 9.40pm on TV ONE.

The second leg of Kemp’s journey takes him to Nigeria, home of the world’s bloodiest, yet least reported, piracy attacks. He also discovers the impact pirate attacks have had on international oil tankers which are the lifeblood of Nigeria’s economy.

Kemp explains, “Nigeria imports 75 per cent of all its commodities. As a result, ships from all over the world are queuing up to get into West Africa’s busiest port. The seas around Nigeria have been described as a war zone.”

Kemp says of Nigeria’s ports, “institutionalised bureaucracy and a corrupt and crumbling infrastructure means that sometimes up to 100 ships have to wait for weeks to offload their cargo. The boats become sitting ducks for the pirates.”

In the slums of Lagos, he also sees how the massive pollution of the city’s rivers by multinational corporations has forced local fishermen out on to the high seas, where they run the gauntlet of pirate attacks.

In Apapa, the main fishing port for the city of Lagos, many of the pirate attacks go unreported and they are widely ignored by the international press. Kemp says, “one fact I find extremely shocking is that over the last four years, 298 fishermen have lost their lives to pirates.”

A local trawlerman who runs a fleet of 69 vessels tells Kemp that his boats have been attacked 12 times this week alone, with five men hospitalised and the crews left traumatised.

In this episode, Kemp also talks to a man who was kidnapped for 26 days, and given no food for ten days and forced to dig his own grave. The man says that his kidnappers were barely secondary school age.

Kemp firmly believes there is a direct correlation between the poverty he sees in the area, and the increase in piracy, “no-one really knows who the pirates are, but most agree that they come from the Niger Delta, scene of a bloody war for control of the region’s massive oil resources.”

He meets the men behind the struggle for control of the region’s oil resources and hears how a combination of oil theft, pollution and unemployment lie at the root of Nigeria’s piracy epidemic.

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