NIMASA targets 2018 to clear off pirates in Gulf of Guinea
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) has set a target of June 2018, to achieve zero per cent piracy in the nation’s maritime domain.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, who disclosed this to journalists shortly after receiving the TELL award of excellence for the Public Organisation of the Year 2016 in Lagos, said the move is part of the agency’s commitment to ensuring the waterways are clean and safe for legitimate operations.
Peterside said the award challenges the Agency to continue in its quest to improve on the ease of doing business in the Nigerian maritime sector, and assured investors of the safety of their investment.
The NIMASA boss, who affirmed that the agency has been battling with the challenges of piracy and sea robbery within the nation’s waters, vowed that it will not rest on its oars until Nigerians benefitted optimally from shipping trades through safe and secured waterways.
“Recall, we have for some time been battling with the challenge of piracy and sea robbery within our maritime domain; from June next year, we will move from the level we are now to zero per cent non- piracy on our waterways. We are working hard every single day to ensure there is no piracy and sea robbery on our waters. That is first commitment we are making to Nigerians,” he said.
Specifically, for those who are involved in illegal fishing business, he warned that the regulator would enforce strict regulations to curb the menace.
He disclosed that the Agency is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and other critical stakeholders to ensure proper regulations are enforced, adding that it would maximise technology driven apparatus to apprehend those perpetrating illegal deals on the waterways including the use of sub-standard vessels.
“When we have maritime security then you can enforce regulations. Challenges has never been the regulation, it has always been enforcement.The other thing is that you must make it easy for people to register their vessels and for people to get licences and that way the problems of illegalities can be easily spotted.
“No sub-standard ship can find its way into our maritime domain. We are working hard with industry stakeholders to ensure that substandard ships have no place within our maritime domain.
“The second commitment is, we are working towards 24-hours response to every single challenge anybody is going to have with doing business within our maritime space. We are working hard to ensure our processes are fully automated. We are committed to having more Nigerians get involved in shipping within the purview of the Cabotage Act,” Peterside said.
Also speaking, the President of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Greg Ogbeifun, debunked allegations that Nigerian seafarers are underpaid compared to other nationals.
“In our organisation, we rate our captains the way we’ll rate any expatriate and we will not take any expatriate and pay through the nose when we have Nigerians who can give you the same quality jobs and you pay them well,” he said.