Despite the fact that certain measures have been adopted by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in curbing the menace of sea piracy and armed robbery, it also required the collaboration of all stakeholders inorder to actualise their operations.
The Director General of the Agency, Mr Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, who made this assertion during this years World Maritime Day celebration in Port Harcourt recently said a phenomenal achievements have already been recorded with the on-going security patrols in the Lagos area since the pilot scheme commenced early this year.
According to him, the Agency can confidently assert that reports of piracy and sea armed robbery had drastically reduced on Nigerian territorial waters especially in the Lagos area, and noted that this was made possible with the provision of vessels to the Agency under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Mr. Akpobolokemi disclosed that between March and June this year, only four attacks by sea pirates was reported to the Agency, and expressed optimism that such attacks would further be minimised in the Lagos pilotage District by the end of the year if the scheme was sustained.
The Director General attributed the success story to the Maritime Guard Command (MGC) consistent patrols with other security outfits in intervening during attacks, adding that legal and illegal vessel movements were being monitored while oil pollution by vessels and illegal fish trawlers have also been contained.
“The patrols have also proven to be highly effective in search and Rescue and vessel monitoring from sea to berth and from berth-to-sea,” he stated, stressing that the patrols have led to avoidance of security related losses in the Nigerian Maritime Industry estimated in excess of N280m in the second quarter of this year alone.
He promised to extend this security operations to Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Delta States, noting that sustenance would deter the activities of pirates and minimise sea armed robbery attacks in Nigerian territorial waters.