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Gulf of Guinea: IMO, International Oil Players, pledge support for NIMASA

      …  Nigeria
critical to regional stability – Kitack Lim
         …  INTERTANKO,
ICC, Chevron, others commend Agency

R-L:President of Chevron, Mark Ross;  DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; NIMASA Executive Director Finance Bashir Jamoh, and Eng Rotimi Fashakin, NIMASA ED Operations shortly after the IMO-sponsored Maritime Security and Facilitation (MSF) meeting  at the IMO Headquarters in London.

The initiatives of the Nigerian Maritime Administration
and Safety Agency (NIMASA) aimed at ensuring security in the Gulf of Guinea
have received a major boost from the international business community. 

players in the global oil and gas as well as shipping businesses praised the
initiatives at a maritime security meeting in London chaired by the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and pledged their support.
Members of the Oil Companies International Marine Forum
(OCIMF), International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO),
International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and International Association of Dry
Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) committed to a collaboration with the IMO in support
of NIMASA’s efforts to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The agreement was reached at an IMO-sponsored Maritime
Security and Facilitation (MSF) meeting, which had in attendance officials of
the United Nations specialised maritime regulatory agency, led by the
Secretary-General, Kitack Lim; the management of NIMASA led by the
Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; representatives of OCIMF, INTERTANKO,
ICS, INTERCARGO, Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), and
President of Chevron Worldwide, Mr. Mark Ross.
Lim, who chaired the meeting, called for stakeholders’
collaboration to overcome the challenges in the Gulf of Guinea. While
acknowledging the efforts of NIMASA to tackle insecurity in the region, the IMO
Secretary-General pledged the organisation’s support for Nigeria.
He stated, “We at the IMO are very much interested.
It’s gladdening to note that something is being done about the issue of
security in the Gulf of Guinea. Something is happening much more than ever
before. We want to cruise together. I think we can make a big difference with
collaboration from all stakeholders.
“The global maritime security conference in Abuja is
also very important. It is a ground-breaking conference to chart a way forward
for securing the Gulf of Guinea. IMO will actively participate.”
Dakuku informed the meeting that the C4i Centre, which
is already in operation, made use of the Automatic Identification System (AIS)
and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to identify Non-AIS complying vessels. It
also uses COASTAL RADAR and External System Integration, including the Nigerian
Navy’s Falcon Eye Intelligence and Lloyds List Intelligence, among others.
He said, “The Nigerian government acknowledged the
challenge of security in the region and decided to take more actions to curb
criminal activities on our waters. The Deep Blue Project and the hosting of the
global security conference are part of efforts to complement ongoing actions of
the Nigerian Navy, which is the largest in that region.  17 interceptors for the Deep Blue Project
will arrive Nigeria later this month.
 Some of the special mission aircraft will
also arrive Nigeria in November, while the four unmanned aerial vessels will
arrive Nigeria March 2020. Total deployment of all C4i projects will be by
November 2020.”
Dakuku stated that Nigerian laws do not allow private
armed guards onboard vessels in the country’s territorial waters. He called for
constant engagement on the Deep Blue Project, and more support for the ICC
Yaounde to enhance information sharing capacity in the Gulf of Guinea.
Stakeholders at the meeting acknowledged the attempts
by the Nigerian government to combat maritime crimes and promised to back those
efforts with more assets to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. They also
promised to support the hosting of the Global Maritime Security Conference
(GMSC) in Abuja.
The NIMASA Director-General said, “Over 80 countries
have confirmed participation, 28 Navies across the globe have also confirmed
participation, with 15 Chiefs of Naval Staff personally leading their delegations
to the conference.
“The side event to be hosted by the ICC will have
different working groups and agreements at these sub cells will be presented at
plenary during the event.”
Mr. Sam Megwa of OCIMF, who had led a team to visit
Nigeria this year, also acknowledged the steps by NIMASA and the Nigerian
government to curb piracy and maritime crimes. He urged the Agency to put
appropriate measures in place to ensure sustainability of the security
Megwa stated, “Our visit to Nigeria was quit inspiring.
The most important thing is that Nigeria has acknowledged that there is a
challenge and actions are being taken now. NIMASA was open to us as we saw all
equipment for the C4i, among others.
“The Agency is doing so much but emphasis must be
placed on sustainability of the project through proper governance. All we want
is improved security situation in the Gulf of Guinea.”

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