Coming on the heels of the recent killing of a naval officer and kidnapping of five sailors by pirates onboard an unnamed vessel in the Niger Delta, the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) has questioned the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) existing between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy.
In a chat with Shipping Position Daily last week, Director General of NISA, Engr Oliver Ogbuagu said it was shameful that despite the alleged $195million security contract which the Federal Government awarded to an Israeli Firm HLSI Global and after spending billions of Naira to acquire the security gadget; "FALCON EYE" by NIMASA, insecurity on the waters has surged.
NISA also questioned the alleged Secure Anchorage contract awarded by the federal government.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that armed pirates penultimate weekend shot dead a Nigerian Navy armed guard escorting an offshore support vessel and kidnapped five crew members from the vessel in the latest pirate attack off Brass in Bayelsa State.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said last Wednesday that the pirates, armed with machine guns in two speedboats, approached the unnamed vessel while it was underway some 32 nautical miles off the coast of Brass on March 9.
But speaking with our correspondent on the latest attack, Engr Ogbuagu queried the competence of NIMASA in anti-piracy operations.
"Where were NIMASA patrol vessels and its all-encompassing Israeli $195m HLSI security architecture and our naval patrol and its Falcon Eyes maritime security as well as the huge Secure Anchorage contractors"?
"Despite all these, they allowed pirates on skiffs visit this disgraceful fatal attack on our maritime domain. Very shameful", he lamented.
When asked if the MoU between NIMASA and the Navy has been fruitful, Engr. Ogbuagu said, "deduce for yourself if it is working or not"
"Apart from the alleged MOU with Navy on the use of Falcon Eyes, NIMASA and the Minister (of Transportation) told us that they awarded a whopping US$195m contract to an obscure Israeli security company ‘HLSI’ for all-encompassing security architecture".
He said that latest threat on Nigerian waters has shown that there is no security arrangement in place.
He described it as “all motion, yet no movement" kind of thing.
In the last quarter of 2018, a total of 41 kidnappings were recorded in the Niger Delta region alone.