IMO calls for action to deter piracy in Gulf of Guinea
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has called for urgent action against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea just as the Nigerian government said it has taken drastic action to enhance security on the waterways.
The IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, expressed deep concern about the escalation in the number and severity of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, which threaten the lives of seafarers and the safety of shipping in the region.
Lim said IMO was taking action to enhance the coordination of initiatives among stakeholders, including facilitating meetings with representatives of the industry, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC).
Companies like Maersk have also been calling for the establishment of a naval mission to the Gulf of Guinea to bring an end to terrorizing seafarers while crossing the area.
In response to the increasing calls from the shipping industry to enhance security, the European Union (EU) is also working on launching the first pilot case of the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) concept in the Gulf of Guinea.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in a television interview said the Federal Government is taking drastic measures to address the problem of insecurity on the waterways.
Amaechi, who pointed out that insecurity, is a major problem forcing importers to abandon the Eastern ports for Lagos, assured that the government would restore sanity to the territorial and international waters.
He said: ‘’The problem we have with congestion is that there is insecurity at the sea which we are addressing and we are having a battle with private interests that have captured security contracts from several government agencies or private investors or private companies that deal with maritime.
‘’The President has approved the construction of three new seaports in Nigeria. He has approved the construction of Lekki Deep seaport. Lekki Deep seaport should be ready next year. I have insisted on that because I want this administration to commission the project. He has also approved the construction of the Bonny Deep seaport. We are currently trying to acquire land so that the construction can commence. It will commence almost at the same time with Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line, either by end of February or first week of March.’’
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