The Federal Government has approved the acquisition of strategic maritime safety and security assets, following the endorsement by Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Accordingly, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has commenced arrangements to ensure the intervention vessels are delivered within the stipulated time frame for the total spectrum maritime strategy.
The Director-General, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, who made this known in Lagos, also announced the establishment of a command and control centre, as part of the strategic initiative.
“The four components of the initiative are situational awareness, response capability, law enforcement and local partnerships, and regional cooperation which are the fulcrum upon which tackling maritime crime will be built on,” he said.
Dakuku noted that the implementation of NIMASA’s total spectrum maritime strategy in collaboration with the Agency’s partners is a panacea to piracy and maritime crime within Nigerian territorial waters.
He also assured that NIMASA would continue to collaborate with the military, especially the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force among other partners to make Nigerian waterways safe and secure.
“We are not unmindful of the peculiar environment of Niger Delta which poses its own challenge in tackling maritime crime, especially kidnapping of crew and illegal bunkering that leads to pollution; we will continue to work with the Nigerian Navy and regional organisations to strengthen our regional approach to tackling maritime crime,” he said.
While assuring that NIMASA will not relax on its quest to see the early passage of the anti-piracy bill, the draft of which the Federal Executive Council recently approved for legislative action, Peterside said eradicating maritime crime and piracy remain a priority for the agency and her partners in 2018.
He also used the opportunity to reassure Nigerians that NIMASA is very focused on working with all relevant stakeholders, using its laid out strategy to make maritime crime history in our domain.
Last year alone, over 66 mariners were been kidnapped off the Niger Delta.
Worried by the spate of attacks, a report by the United States Maritime Administration, International Maritime Bureau, had declared Nigerian waters as deadly and unsafe.