Mariner calls for improved security on Nigerian waterways



Capt. Peter Onwordi, a marine engineer and ship surveyor, has blamed insecurity on waterways for low shipping operations and commercial fishing in Nigeria.
Onwordi said this in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.
``Western ports services are reluctant going to the Eastern ports because of security reasons.
``And this security factor could be taken care of by the Nigerian Navy, not NIMASA.
``The responsibility of maritime security is domiciled with the Nigerian Navy.
``But the platforms must be there first of all; the platform to patrol the water front, the sea lane of communication.
``But since the platforms have been decayed and out of use, the service is now trying to replenish or refurbish and replace them but not enough.
``The vessels, arms and men on board to patrol the terrain; these are what you give, and give the fishermen, the fishing boats, the shippers, the ship owners confidence that yes, Navy is ever at sea day and night.
``But nowadays we hear of pirates attacking vessels, attacking fishing trawlers because the patrol vessels are not enough and available as at when needed.’’
He stressed the need for the Navy to have new platforms to make its presence felt on the waterways, saying that such presence would also boost shipping activities.
The mariner said that increase in casualties during marine accidents was often due to the non-availability of support vessels.
According to him, the first rescue usually comes from nearby ships when accidents happen and not necessarily search and rescue operational ships.

Onwordi called for an effective monitoring that would boost security on waterways.