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NIMASA Floating Dock

NIMASA claims faulted as ships still pay for escorts in, out of Nigerian waters

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Even though the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a specialised department of the International Chamber of Commerce, has released its report for the first quarter of 2019 showing an increased level of safety in the Nigerian Maritime Domain, checks in several international shipping companies calling Nigerian ports showed that they are still paying for escorts in seeing off and guiding in ships.
They said they still pay in dollars depending on available ship escorting security firms and may not rely on new report of the IMB for now pending when they are convinced that sailing normalcy has fully been established.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, which is a 24-hour free service offered by the IMB, enables shipmasters to report any incidents of piracy, armed robbery or stowaway.
Since 1992, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has provided the maritime industry, government bodies and response agencies with timely data on the location of piracy and armed robbery incidents at sea.
In a statement issued by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) weekend, the agency claimed that “The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre said no vessel was reported hijacked in the period under review, marking the first time Nigeria had such record since the first quarter of 1994. The report noted that in the first quarter of 2019, Nigeria experienced a decrease in reported piracy incidents, compared to the same period in 2018.”
The report further stated that there was a great improvement in the efforts to actively respond to incidents in the Nigerian Maritime Domain.
According to the IMB Director, Pottengal Mukundan, Nigeria seems to be gaining advantage from coordinated responses to incidents via its maritime regulatory agency, the NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy.
Mukundan called for sustenance of the collaborative effort, saying “These latest statistics from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre are encouraging. However, first quarter statistics should not be a basis to anticipate trends through the rest of the year, as it’s too short a period. It, nonetheless, confirms the importance of information sharing and coordinated action between the industry and response agencies. Going forward, it is critical to continue to build a more effective reporting structure to enable a strong, unified response when dealing with piracy incidents.”
However, responding to the report, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, observed that the Agency would continue to do all in its powers, within the ambit of the law, to ensure that piracy in Nigerian territorial waters was drastically reduced, if not eradicated. Dakuku said the Federal Executive Council’s recent approval of the Deep Blue Project, which is an all-encompassing maritime security architecture, was a clear demonstration of the fact that the President Muhammadu Buhari Government was leaving no stone unturned in its determination to tackle the menace of piracy.
Dakuku, who was silent on the role of the controversial Israeli security firm, HSLi Technologies, now manning Nigerian territorial waters, said the Agency will continue to collaborate with the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Police and other relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that Nigeria became a hub of maritime business in Africa.

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