The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has urged the international maritime community to support Nigeria’s bid for reinstatement into Category C of the International Maritime Organisation’ s (IMO) council election.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, made the call in a statement signed by Mr Edward Osagie, Assistant Director Public Relations of NIMASA, in Lagos, on Wednesday.
Speaking at the third seminar of the Atlantic Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, on Tuesday, Jamoh sought the support of Nigeria’s friends to vote for the country into the council of the IMO in the election billed for December, 2021.
“We ask for your vote and count on your continued confidence in the efforts of Nigeria to work in partnership with other nation states in the Gulf of Guinea.
“This will enable us to continue keeping our corridor of the Atlantic Ocean a safe passage for seafarers, their vessels and the vital supplies they transport for our common sustenance,” he said.
The DG also requested the removal of Nigeria, by the global shipping community, from being designated as a war risk zone which causes increased insurance premium.
He also explained recent efforts by the Federal Government to make the country’s waters safer for crew members, vessels and cargoes.
Jamoh added that deployment of security vessels on waters adjoining the Atlantic Ocean should be in line with international laws, without undermining the national sovereignty of countries within West and Central Africa.
“In 2018, Nigeria initiated a project known as Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure (Deep Blue Project), as a robust tool to combat piracy, armed robbery and other maritime crimes within Nigeria’s territorial waters and by extension the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
“To further bolster Nigeria’s efforts at fighting crimes at sea, the government signed into law the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, (SPOMO) 2019.
“This piece of legislation gave effect in Nigeria to the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, on piracy and the International Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Navigation (SUA), 1998, and its protocol.
“Since the law came into effect, convictions of at least 20 pirates have been secured under the Act with offenders currently serving various jail terms,” he said.
He noted that at the regional level, Nigeria joined other heads of States and governments to sign the Yaoundé Declaration on June 25, 2013, to collaborate in the fight against piracy and other crimes in their Atlantic oceans.
Jamoh pointed out that this followed the United Nations Security Council resolutions of 2011 and 2012 calling on the countries in the ECOWAS, ECCAS, and the GoG to work together on a strategy to fight piracy, armed robbery, and other illegal activities at sea in the Gulf of Guinea,
“This decoration known as the ‘Yaoundé declaration’ led to the establishment of the Inter-regional Coordination Centre (ICC Yaoundé).
“Further to this, Nigeria, together with the ICC Yaoundé, is engaged with the major international shipping industry and commodities groups, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, ICS, OCIMF, BIMCO, to develop a framework known as the Gulf of Guinea, Maritime Collaboration Forum on Shared Awareness and Deconfliction i.e. GoG-MCF/SHADE.
“The framework is a multilateral initiative involving industry stakeholders and member countries in West and Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, on Information sharing and incident reporting, cooperation at Sea, and Air de-confliction.
“The G7++ FOGG is another multinational collaboration with regional countries on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
He added that at the continental level, Nigeria was a party to the Charter on Maritime Security and Safety and Development in Africa signed in September 2016 in Lomé, Togo. otherwise known as the Lomé Charter.
“One of the objectives of the charter is to prevent and suppress national and transnational crime, including terrorism, piracy, armed robbery against ships, drug trafficking, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, and all other kinds of trafficking through the sea and IUU fishing,” he said.
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