Nigeria vows to end piracy in Gulf of Guinea
. IMO commends Nigerian Navy, NIMASA
The Federal Government has promised to employ all machinery to eliminate the act of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Director-General, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, warned that individuals or organizations thinking of perpetuating any form of illegalities in the Gulf of Guinea should be ready to face the full wrath of the law with the antipiracy law in place.
“We will not condone any act of illegality in our maritime space; we have improved our intelligence sharing with relevant agencies, and with what we are doing now, in no distant time piracy will be a thing of the past in the Gulf of Guinea because we have a robust antipiracy law that will deal with perpetrators of illegalities in our waters,” he said.
According to him, the NIMASA and Nigerian Navy partnership is waxing stronger with major focus on security in the Nigerian maritime domain and the entire Gulf of Guinea.
Jamoh made this commitment while handing over the fishing vessel, Marine 707, suspected to be carrying out illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea to the Ghanian authorities for further investigation and possible prosecution. He also handed over 51 crew members including 48 Ghanaians, and three South Korean nationals to the Government of Ghana and Korea, respectively.
The vessel, which had authorization to fish in Ghana and Benin waters was arrested by the Nigerian Navy on the 18th of May, around the southwest of Lagos waters with her Automatic Identification System (AIS) switched off, and was suspected of piracy or being used as a mother ship to conduct piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
While receiving the vessel and the crew on behalf of the Ghana Maritime Authority, the Second Secretary Consular of Ghana in Nigeria, David Ako Sowah, commended the Nigerian authorities for being professional in handling the case.
He said what Nigeria is doing is for the benefit of the entire countries in the Gulf Guinea.
Meanwhile, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO}, the specialised shipping regulatory agency of the United Nations (UN), has delivered a glowing appraisal of Nigeria’s effort to stem piracy in its waters and the Gulf of Guinea, commending the country for sending a “strong and valuable message” to the global community.
IMO also commended Jamoh, for his brave and dynamic approach to maritime security, in a letter addressed to him by the Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, amid recent arrests and first-time prosecution of suspected pirates under the country’s new antipiracy law.
Lim said he was impressed by Nigeria’s efforts “to address maritime security threats in the region,” adding that Jamoh’s “leadership and proactive response” to maritime security issues was laudable.
Jamoh had told the IMO Secretary-General at a previous virtual meeting following the arrest of some pirates by the Nigerian Navy, in partnership with NIMASA, that piracy in the region was being sustained by powerful foreign collaboration. He appealed for support from the international community to complement the steps being taken by Nigeria.
“I would also like to reiterate my congratulations to the Nigerian Navy on the successful capture and arrest of pirates from the fishing trawler Hailufeng 11, and more recently on the rescue of the crewmembers of the containership Tommi Ritscher,” Lim stated in the letter.
“Those actions, together with all the other initiatives you highlighted in our meeting, including progress with the Deep Blue Project, send a strong and valuable message to the international community with respect to the considerable efforts your Government is making to curb piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Guinea,” he added.