The minister of transport, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio has cautioned that unless the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) does something about the incessant cases of sea robberies on the nation’s waters, Nigeria’s quest for a second term on the Council seat of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) may be threatened.
The minister gave the warning last week in Lagos when he visited the corporate head office and other facilities of NIMASA in Lagos where he also called for a stricter implementation of the Cabotage law.
He specifically called for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to ship owners before the end of this year even as he called on all maritime agencies to collaborate to ensure seamless service delivery.
The minister’s red alert on the nation’s quest for a second term seat on the category ‘C’ council at the IMO comes in the wake of renewed attacks on fishing trawlers by sea robbers in different parts of the country, a development which has made trawler owners to begin gradual withdrawal of their crafts for Nigerian waters.
The latest move by fishing trawler owners under the aegis of Nigerian Trawler owners Association (NITOA) came about three weeks after a fishing trawler which belong the Tarabaroz was attacked on Benin River in Ondo state.The captain of the fishing trawler FT Star 1 Captain Pius Italume was killed in the attack while the crew were seriously wounded.
The minister had recently inaugurated two committees to ensure that Nigeria retains the council seat which she won in 2007. The IMO elections come up in November
But, apparently worried by the unabated attacks, the minister raised alarm last week that “if the issue of piracy is not tackled it may be a big barrier in enabling Nigeria being re-elected into Category ‘C’ “.