Baltic and International Maritime Council, BIMCO, The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, INTERTANKO and other major shipping lines have expressed confidence in the measures being taken by Nigeria to combat sea piracy and armed robbery on the country’s territorial waters.
At the backdrop of the measures rolled out in the recent times by the leadership of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the head of Maritime Safety and Security at BIMCO, Jakob Larsen, stated: “The shipping community and Peterside have been in close dialogue about the Nigerian-based piracy problem, and we have repeatedly praised Dakuku and NIMASA for their role in the preparations of antipiracy capabilities.”
BIMCO, a commercial shipping trade organisation headquartered in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is one of the largest international organisations of ship owners in the world.
INTERTANKO, an association of independent tanker owners throughout the world, also said it was certain that improved maritime safety and security were in the offing in Nigeria, with the current measures being put in place by NIMASA.
The Marine Director of INTERTANKO, Phillip Belcher, stated: “We value the close working relationship we have with the Nigerian administration and Peterside Dakuku, personally.”
Following disturbing reports by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) about piracy and maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea, NIMASA said that Nigeria has since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration implemented a number of measures through NIMASA to counter the menace.
The incidents affect Nigeria, among other West African countries, and the wider international community.
According to Dakuku, the antipiracy measures were meant to guarantee a Nigerian maritime space devoid of criminality, where people can feel confident to trade and Nigeria can take full advantage of the rich potential of its maritime environment.
NIMASA said that this objective led to the introduction of the Total Spectrum Maritime Security Strategy by NIMASA, Nigerian Navy, and other stakeholders. In actualisation of the strategy, the Federal Government initiated the Integrated Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as the Deep Blue Project, with participation from the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, and NIMASA.
Fully funded by NIMASA, with HLSI International as technical partners, the Deep Blue Project has three main components, namely, intelligence gathering, which led to the establishment of the C4i surveillance system; response capability, which led to the acquisition of maritime security assets; and training of personnel to patrol Nigeria’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone.
NIMASA said, “The C4i centre is like the central nervous centre for the Deep Blue Project for intelligence gathering and analysis. It has started operation, while most of the assets have been acquired, and the training of personnel is at the final stages. The air assets meant to build reconnaissance capability include special mission aircrafts, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles. The maritime assets for monitoring the waters include Special Mission Vessels and interceptor boats; and the land assets for securing the coastal areas include armoured vehicles.
“The Federal Government also enacted in June 2019 the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act 2019 as a legal framework for prosecution of maritime offenders. The Act made Nigeria the first country in the West and Central African Sub-Region to have a separate law against piracy. This is an important international requirement set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as part of measures to guarantee secure global shipping.”