Worried by the high incidences of maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello has said that safety and security are two most crucial factors for successful shipping business the world over.

He also hinted that plans are underway to kick off the implementation of Cargo Tracking Note CTN, the council’s pet project to complement the nation’s new maritime security architecture expected to curb all forms of crimes in Nigeria’s maritime domain.

Bello, who was one of the panelists at the just concluded World Maritime Day organised by the Federal Ministry of Transport in partnership with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA in Lagos with the theme:”Empowering Women In The Maritime Community”, said that there will be no shipping if there is no safety and security.

This, he insists underscores the urgent need for collaboration and synergy not only among the countries in the Gulf of Guinea region, but also across the world to fight the worsening insecurity in the region occasioned by rampant cases of attacks on vessels, oil theft and kidnapping of seafarers, among several others.

According to him, it costs about $3, 000 to ship a container from China to Nigeria while it costs as much as $1, 500 or more to ship the same size of container from Lagos to the eastern ports in Nigeria because of insecurity in the area, a development he attributed to youth restiveness.

He said: “Safety and security are key and crucial in shipping. We must address youth restiveness in this country, which arises as a result of a feeling of injustice. There should be inclusiveness and the youths should be made to benefit from the wealth of the blue economy of this country.

“We will soon commence full implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note because it gives you both the value and weight of the cargo. This will complement the nation’s maritime security architecture. We cannot effectively implement the new Anti-Piracy Act without first improving on our maritime security architecture.

“So there is urgent need to also domesticate some international conventions especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation SUA of the International Maritime Organisation IMO and other safety-related protocols, which will provide a guide for effective implementation of Nigeria’s anti-piracy law”

He commended the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside over the agencies new security initiatives, saying that the Global Maritime Security Conference slated for October 7-9, 2019 in Abuja will provide a platform to tackle issues of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.