Feature

Nigeria piracy is declining steadily, says Jamoh

…wants end to War Risk Area insurance on Nigerian shippers

 

Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashire Jamoh has said that since the deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, popularly known as the Deep Blue Project assets in February, “we have experienced continued decline in piracy attacks in our waters on a monthly basis.”

 

Dr Jamoh dropped this hint during the official inauguration of the deep blue assets in Lagos, saying the development has made it necessary for the international shipping community “to rethink the issue of war risk insurance on cargo bound for our ports – Nigeria has demonstrated enough commitment towards tackling maritime insecurity to avert such premium burden.”

 

According to him, with full deployment of the over $195 million security assets in the Nigerian and Gulf of Guinea waters, Nigeria has clearly demonstrated that she is for safer seas and calmer coasts, even as “seafarers will never have cause to worry when they sail our waters”, “shipping will be safer for trade to boom. I welcome you all to this epoch- making celebration,” Jamoh said.

 

He said the inauguration of the security assets by President Muhammadu Buhari marks the fulfillment of the mandate he was given when he assumed office. He said on March 2020, upon assumption of office as the Director-General of NIMASA, and at the inauguration of the agency’s Governing Board, “we were given a clear mandate to fund and deliver the Deep Blue Project…the mission has been accomplished.”

 

The NIMASA helmsman said, realizing the enormity of the economic loss from attacks on Nigerian shipping activities, NIMASA created a window of opportunity for the industry to engage regularly with the agency as regulator.

 

“This gave birth to the NIMASA Joint Industry Working Group. The monthly forum of candid interactions with critical stakeholders such as BIMCO, InterCargo, InterTanko among others provided a sounding board for shaping policies that have impacted on maritime security strategies and protection of our seafarers.”

 

He said; “It’s worth noting that a major milestone resulting from this partnership with industry is the new framework for jointly tackling maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea signed and co-chaired by the Inter-Regional Coordinating Centre (ICC), Yaoundé and the Nigerian Navy / NIMASA known as GoG-SHADE “We have also recorded progress on the issue of harmonization of surveillance between NIMASA (C4i), NPA, Nigerian Navy (Falcon Eye) and the Nigerian Police.

 

All of these will complement the Deep Blue Assets to ensure that it is fully robust. Dr Jamoh further said that there is no doubt that Deep Blue Project is about assets and platforms. “But these Assets and platforms by themselves cannot address the challenges of maritime insecurity. Even if you have assets and arrest the pirates, if you don’t prosecute offenders it is wasteful exercise.

 

That is why, Mr. President, today (Thursday) the maritime industry thanks you for signing the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences (SPOMO Act) into law; the very first of its kind in the entire Gulf of Guinea that is fast becoming a model for other African maritime nations. Under this law, we have successfully prosecuted, convicted and sentenced several offenders for the first time,” he added.

 

He disclosed that NIMASA also had partnership with various international organisations that has helped to improve regional approach to solving issues of maritime challenges, saying the agency is beginning to witness an era of proper coordination, meaningful collaboration and productive cooperation,” he said.

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