NIMASA restates commitment to effective maritime security …Says regional maritime security crucial to Nigeria’s economic wellbeing
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, at the weekend, restated its commitment towards ensuring effective maritime security in the country, saying that improving regional maritime security, especially in the Gulf of Guinea was in the overall interest of the country’s economic growth and development.
Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, while speaking with newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, stated that ensuring effective security in Nigeria’s maritime domain, remains a conscious and continuous process that requires the commitment of all stakeholders with a to ensuring optimum safety of all investments in the industry.
According to him, NIMASA will continue to take the lead in the issue of providing maritime safety in the entire West and Central African sub-region, especially in the Gulf of Guinea because of its direct impact on Nigeria’s economic well-being.
“There are several factors that contribute to the high cost of products coming into the country through the seas, a development that makes it very important and urgent to tackle insecurity on the waterways.
“We must ensure the security of the Gulf of Guinea because Nigeria is not isolated from whatever happens in the region which may lead to negative economic impact, or increase in the cost of insurance or war premium insurance and ultimately lead to high cost of goods and services which will be borne by the consumer of the goods and services”, the DG said.
He also noted that ensuring security in the region is even necessitated by the fact that over 65 per cent of cargo heading to the region ends up in Nigeria, insisting that securing the nation’s territorial waters remains a work in progress that requires the commitment of all stakeholders and neighbouring countries. To this effect, the current management of the agency in recognition of this fact has commenced the implementation of international regulatory instruments in collaboration with various countries in the region with a view to checkmating criminal activities within the maritime domain.
Peterside who doubles as chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations AAMA, said that no maritime crime occurs within a jurisdiction alone.
“Very often the trend is that maritime crime starts from one jurisdiction and ends in another. The only way we can tackle maritime crime is all of us working together and there have been several regional initiatives in that respect to tackle maritime crime. Apart from the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, you have the Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy, you have the Gulf of Guinea Commission dealing with the same thing there are several sub-regional and regional initiatives to tackle maritime insecurity so I see a lot of potentials in regional collaboration and integration”, he also said.
In terms of internal maritime security, the DG assured that the agency under his watch id committed to achieving 100 per cent implementation of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security ISPS Code and therefore assured that the agency is not lowering its guards, having already achieved over 90 per cent in the implementation level within a short period of being appointed the Designated Authority of the implementation of the code, initiated by the International Maritime Organisation in 2004.
He also disclosed that sister agencies especially those under the Federal Ministry of Transport are partnering one another as part of efforts to enhance security, which also culminated in the the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding MoU between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy and other relevant organisations.