Nigerian Govt, South Korea and Belgium Partner To Tackle Maritime Crimes
Both Countries Pledge to Partner Nigeria in Shipping Development
With avowed commitment and renewed vigour to tackle the menace of maritime criminalities on Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea, GoG, the Nigerian Government, after meetings with the South Korean Consul-General of the Korean His Excellency, Kang Haenggu, and Ambassador Designate of Belgium, His Excellency, Daniel Bertrand, have pledged support for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in its drive to enhance trade and security in the Nigerian maritime domain.
The envoys acknowledged the security challenge in the Gulf of Guinea and promised to support Nigeria’s efforts to improve security in its waters at a meeting with the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, at the Agency’s headquarters in Lagos.
Dr. Jamoh told the South Korean and Belgian delegations that visit him that the Nigerian government placed high premium on safety and security of shipping in its waters and the Gulf of Guinea, culminating in huge investment in maritime security infrastructure.
In Jamoh’s words “Nigeria has made huge investments in the establishment of a comprehensive maritime security infrastructure. The Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, is designed to secure our waters, up to the Gulf of Guinea”.
“The project is nearing completion, with more than 80 per cent of the assets, comprising Special Mission Vessels, Fast Intervention Boats, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and Armoured Vehicles, already in the country”
The NIMASA Boss also stated that “The information and intelligence hub of the Deep Blue Project, the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i), was commissioned in August last year. The Centre is up and running with round-the-clock production of needed maritime domain awareness. The C4i has helped to identify and monitor activities in the black spots, leading to arrests of many suspects in recent times.”
Dr. Jamoh disclosed that the training of personnel for the Deep Blue Project had commenced and would be concluded this month awaiting deployment of the assets by December.
On the menace of pirates and other criminal on Nigerian waters, the Director-General stated that investigations have revealed that Somali pirates were now active in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
Dr. Jamoh said the pirates often navigates through Nigeria’s maritime boundaries, and sometimes come through the land borders.
He stated that the Maritime Intelligence Unit, recently established by NIMASA to help nip maritime crimes in the bud through identification of early warning signs, has revealed a relationship between crimes in the Nigerian maritime domain and the Somali pirates.
According to Dr. Jamoh “We discovered a correlation between crimes in our waters and the activities of the Somali pirates. They have a means of navigating from the coast of Somalia to Nigeria, through the waters of our West African neighbours. In some cases, they enter through the land borders and commission boats to carry out their activities.”
He said Nigeria had developed an action plan to monitor the progress of its National Maritime Security Strategy, saying, “Our goal is to achieve a sustainable end to criminal attacks in our territorial waters.”
Jamoh therefore called for South Korean and Belgian investments in the Nigerian maritime industry, particularly in the areas of wreck removal and shipbuilding, as well as assistance in the training and certification of Nigerian seafarers.
Haenggu and Bertrand, in their separate submissions, pledged their determination to improve ties between their respective countries and Nigeria in shipping development and maritime security.
Haenggu hailed the “strong working relationship” between the Korean Embassy and NIMASA, saying he looks forward to continuing it. And Bertrand said his priority was to promote commerce between his country and Nigeria.