The management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) led by its Director General, Dr Bashir Jamoh, has noted the massive reduction in piracy in the Nigerian waters.
The Special Assistant to the DG on Communication Strategies, Mr Ubong Essien, who revealed this in a media parley in Port Harcourt at the weekend, explained that the low piracy was achieved following the flagg-off of the Deep Blue Project which is a security architecture in the waters.
Essien said the security achievement is in collaboration with the Navy, Air Force, the Army and NIMASA as driver.
He said Nigeria has been pressing for the lifting of the War Risk Insurance (WRI) imposed on vessels delivering goods and merchandise to the country due to fears of insecurity.
He explained that goods coming to Nigeria carry very high and discriminatory fees that fuel inflation in Nigeria, adding that the NIMASA DG has gone to key maritime stations around the world to make case for the WRI removal.
The DG’s aide said it is sad that this has persisted despite huge improvements in security in Nigeria’s waters.
Essien said: “We are all paying the price for it. When goods enter the country, the higher cost in shipping and insurance will drive the cost up.
“The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has admitted that the attacks have drastically dropped as never before in decades. What baffles the NIMASA management is why that though this reduction in attacks has been admitted by the IMB but the WRI is still in place. It’s a punitive insurance measure.
“The DG has gone to three international meetings where he has been making demand and appeal for the removal of War Risk Insurance.”
According to him, “It is collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Transportation. NIMASA is driving it as the realizing agency in terms of funding for acquisition of the assets.
“You have three categories of assets, air, sea and land. In air asset category, we have two special mission helicopters and two aircraft. The helicopters handle surveillance but in the event of emergency, they can serve as intervention assets. NIMASA bears responsibility of safety of sea operations and thus uses the air assets to ensure this.
“In sea assets, we have two special mission vessels that go to sea and can stay at one spot from time to time and watch out. There are fast-moving interception boats that can take about 16 armed agents each. They serve as MSU (Maritime Security Unit). They can be deployed in the event of an attack on any vessel at the nation’s territorial waters or anywhere within its jurisdiction or permit.”
On the huge results, which Nigeria expected to move the world into removing the high shipping fees imposed by the IMB, the DG’s special assistant said the Deep Blue Project as a specialized security strategy is yielding huge dividends, not only in reducing pirates’ attacks but in the many arrests and recent convictions secured.
He disclosed that the latest 10 convictions and fines of N200,000 each by a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi for hijacking a merchant vessel, FV Hailufeng II, was on May 15, 2020.
adding that this is being achieved under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act of 2019.
He said: “This is the first time such feat has been recorded in Nigeria’s waters. Before now, there were no strong legal instruments to hold the criminals or pirates. Now, Nigeria is becoming a model in the Gulf of Guinea in terms of security in the nation’s architecture and model.”
Source: This Day Live