Navy Seeks Security Devices Aboard Vessels

The Nigeria Navy (NN) has called for the installation and enforcement of special devices on board ships calling in Nigeria’s waters.

It posited that if this measure is implemented it will serve as a bulwark against criminalities in Nigerian waters and other parts of the West and Central sub-regions. It averred that if Nigeria adopts more proactive measures against piracy, the menace if not totally eradicated will be drastically reduced.

According to NN, the Federal Government can achieve this by directing the relevant agencies, especially the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), to enforce the measure.

NN made this position in a paper presentation on Measures to Check Piracy and Other Illegal Activities on Nigerian Waters at the sixth Ships and Ports Annual National Essay Competition Prize presentation ceremony in Lagos.

The paper was presented by the Command Intelligence Officer, Commander Usman Bugaje, on behalf of the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Amin Ikioda.

“The Federal Government should lead the pack of coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea region to develop a robust regional maritime security strategy through capacity building, equipment programme, training exercises, intelligence sharing and logistic support to enhance sea patrol and surveillance of territorial waters”, the Navy chief said.

He sought the federal government’s assistance for the nation’s security agencies through capacity building and equipment programme in order to boost their capacity to combat the scourge of criminalities in the waters.

His words: “Greater attention must be made to enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Navy through the acquisition of more functional ships, boats, offshore patrol vessels (OPV), helicopters and back-up facilities to enable them perform their statutory role of hunting down sea pirates and smugglers, including combating other forms of maritime threats in the nation’s waters.

“As a matter of urgency, fighting piracy and sea robbery cannot be won by the NN without the support and encouragement of the larger Nigerian society. Consequently, participants at the forum could include legislators, state governors, ministers, other public servants, and members of the armed forces; serving and retired judges, lawyers, industry practitioners, business executives, the academia and the media in order to attract an impressive audience as well as enrich the deliberations at the event.

“Nigeria’s water is fast becoming very dangerous in terms of piratical violence against vessels and illegal activities in our waters. The Federal Government must act quickly to combat the scourge of piracy. Piracy is a crime under customary and international law, which affects all countries. It can occur in a state’s territorial waters, neighbouring jurisdictions and on the high seas. Thus, it is up to all stakeholders in Nigerian maritime industry to take reasonable steps to protect our maritime domain in order to achieve maximum economic and social gains.”

Also presenting a paper, ‘How to Check Piracy and Other Illegal Activities on Nigerian Waters’, Director-General of the NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, represented by the Head, Search and Rescue, NIMASA, Commander Ilyasu Bako (rtd), said “The resurgence of pirate attacks in African waters is now a subject of serious concern to African states and indeed the international community.”

Piracy in African waters for the last decade, according to him, is concentrated in three regions namely: the Somali Coast/the Gulf of Aden along the East African Coast, Nigeria’s territorial waters in West Africa, and the Mozambique channel/Cape sea route in Southern Africa.

“Since 2007 when African waters overtook waters off Southeast Asia – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Philippines – as the traditionally dangerous hotspots of global piracy, much of the international attention and efforts at countering piracy in Africa have been on Somali maritime piracy. This is understandably so, because piracy off the Somali coast accounts for more than half of pirate attacks recorded annually in Africa, if not globally.

“For instance, there were 439 piracy attacks worldwide in 2011, more than half of which were attributed to Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and off the coast of Oman. The spike in attacks prompted the deployment in 2008 of an ongoing international coalition of navies to fight Somali piracy. In the same vein, violence at sea is also brewing in another African gulf: the Gulf of Guinea (GG)”, he said.

According to him, for much of the past seven to eight years, maritime piracy has been on the increase around Africa despite growing national, regional and international efforts at improving the maritime security along sea routes.

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Source: This Day Live, written by John Iwori.

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