The Norwegian Government has commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for her leading role in ensuring Safety and Security in the Gulf of Guinea and declared her readiness to deepen relationship with Nigeria.
The Royal Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt made her country’s position known shortly after a working visit to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA. During the visit, her team toured the Marine Environment Management Laboratory and the Command, Control, Computer, Communication and Information Center, otherwise known as the C4i Center of the Deep Blue Project, both located at the Agency’s operational office at Kirikiri, Lagos.
Huitfeldt, whose delegation from Norway included Ship-owners from the Scandinavian country and the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Lein Knut, said the Gulf of Guinea is key to global shipping, noting that the Norwegian Government welcomes the improved safety and security in the region as experienced in recent years. She added that her country is prepared to deepen relationship with Nigeria in the maritime sector with particular reference to capacity development.
In her words, “the Norwegian Government is happy to be in collaboration with NIMASA and Nigeria as a whole, with regards to the maritime sector today. The safety and security of vessels and Seafarers particularly in the Gulf of Guinea is highly prioritized by the Norwegian government. Therefore, Nigeria is a very important partner for Norway. We came here with shipowners from Norway to explore ways of collaboration to deepen the relationship between both countries, particularly in the area of capacity development. NIMASA has progressed very well in achieving her vision of being the leading Maritime Administration in Africa”.
On his part, the Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR assured the Norwegian delegation that the Agency in collaboration with other organs of government particularly the Nigerian Navy would deepen regional collaboration to sustain the momentum of improved security in the region. He also noted that the soon to be disbursed Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds CVFF would serve as a catalyst for shipping development in the country.
“We are mindful of the importance of collaboration in driving the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector, hence we will continue to partner with relevant security agencies like the Nigerian Navy and other global partners in order to sustain the momentum of securing the Nigeria waters and the Gulf of Guinea”, Jamoh said.
Speaking on the CVFF issues, the DG said, “We are at the last stage of disbursing the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, as the Ministry has met with all parties involved; as soon as the modalities are set, shipowners should rest assured that the funds will be disbursed very soon”.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director Norwegian Ship owners Association Audun Halvorsen informed that their association with over 1700 members is looking forward to collaborating with NIMASA and shipowners in Nigeria in the areas of investment and capacity development.
“I commend the great work of NIMASA and the Government of Nigeria to curb piracy and maritime crime, not only in Nigeria, but throughout the whole region. We see Nigeria has a lot to offer, as you have made impressive progress; improving the maritime security situation in the region, not only to your own benefits, but for all the coastal states”, Halvorsen said.
NIMASA, under the leadership of Dr. Bashir Jamoh has continued to prioritise collaboration, synergy and cooperation in achieving its mandates pruned into three major areas; Security, Safety and Shipping Development. This move has put the Agency in the right path of actualizing a robust maritime sector in Nigeria.