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World Shipping Community confident in Nigeria’s anti-piracy fight

Dr, Dakuku Peterside, DG NIMASA

Major stakeholders in the
international shipping community have said they are confident of the measures
and satisfied with the effectiveness of Nigeria’s efforts to contain piracy and
armed robbery on the country’s maritime environment. 

They also expressed
confidence in the abilities of the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the maritime industry regulator and
linchpin of the country’s antipiracy efforts, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Head of Maritime Safety and
Security, Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), Jakob P. Larsen,
stated, “The reality is that the shipping community and Dr. Peterside have been
in close dialogue about the Nigerian-based piracy problem, and that we have
repeatedly praised Dr. Peterside and NIMASA for their role in the preparations
of anti-piracy 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.
The International Association of
Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) also said it was certain improved
maritime safety and security were in the offing, with the current measures
being put in place by NIMASA. The Marine Director of INTERTANKO, an association
of independent tanker owners throughout the world, Dr. Phillip Belcher, said,
“We value the close working relationship we have with the Nigerian
administration and Dr. Dakuku Peterside, personally.”
The international shipping
stakeholders were reacting to recent media publications alleging Nigeria might
be reported to the United Nations on account of piracy.
Following disturbing reports by
the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) about piracy and maritime crimes in the
Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria has since the inception of the President Muhammadu
Buhari 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.
Dakuku said 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.” 
The above 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
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 Aircraft,
helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles. 

The maritime assets for monitoring
the waters include and 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.

As the infrastructural and legal
aspects of the Total Spectrum Maritime Security Strategy began to come into
operation, IMB reported a drop in piracy attacks in Nigeria in the third
quarter of 2019. IMB said in its report, “Nigeria has reduced Q3 piracy attacks
from 41 in 2018 to 29 in 2019,” which represents nearly 30 per cent
year-on-year reduction.

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