Mr Dakuku Peterside, the Director-General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said member states in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) would join forces to fight against maritime insecurity in the region.
Peterside said this while making public the resolutions reached at the end of the three-day Global maritime Security Conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
The conference was organised due to reported incidents of insecurity in the GoG, the interconnectedness of the maritime environment and the shared responsibility for effective ocean governance and maritime security.
The event was organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation in conjunction with NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy.
Peterside said the member states and its international partners resolved at the conference to give priority attention to training and capacity building for relevant stakeholders in maritime security.
This, he said included national maritime authorities, law enforcement agencies and navies as first responders.
“Navies/Coast Guards and maritime law enforcement agencies shall engage in regular joint maritime operations with international partners, to harmonise operational procedures, training standards and foster inter-operability.
“GoG States shall explore the possibility of designated maritime courts to handle cases of sea robbery, piracy and other maritime offences to ensure quick dispensation of cases.
“GoG States shall put more efforts to implement various agreed strategies at the continental, regional and national levels.
“GoG States with the support of regional organisations like the ECOWAS, ECCAS, ICC and relevant international organisations will continue to ratify and fully domesticate the provisions of the relevant international conventions.
“GoG countries shall explore alternative and innovative sources of funding for their maritime security and law enforcement agencies to enhance the effectiveness of their response to maritime incidents.
“GoG States will establish repeatable, documentable frameworks for interagency cooperation.’’
The NIMASA director-general said the GoG states would strengthen mechanisms and structures for engagement with the local and, fishing communities as well as seafarers including private stakeholders for economic benefits.
He said member states would strengthen its funding; national, zonal and regional maritime domain awareness centres to enhance information sharing and coordination.
He said the GoG States would sustain regular meeting of heads of states, heads of navies/coast guards and other maritime enforcement agencies on issues of maritime security for mutual benefit.
According to Peterside, relevant regional maritime agencies will engage industry experts/representatives for informed policy decision on maritime security and related issues.
He said the GoG States would promote strategic communications initiative to enhance awareness on maritime security concerns and potential benefits.
“The GoG States shall engage in maritime spatial planning of coastal and urban areas to ensure that maritime security vulnerabilities are not created, particularly in proximity to critical maritime infrastructure.
“GoG States shall explore opportunities for maritime law enforcement through targeted engagement with coastal and fishing communities to support maritime security efforts.
“GoG States and the international community shall put mechanisms in place to ensure that resources that are illegally harvested, explored in the GoG are intentionally banned as was the case with the “blood diamonds”.
“Conveners of this Conference in liaison with ECOWAS, ECCAS, ICC shall constitute a GMSC expert working group to drive the implementation and decisions arising from the Conference.
“Lastly, the Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation shall communicate the decisions and recommendations of this Conference to the Presidency of Nigeria and onward to ECOWAS, ECCAS, GGC, AU, IMO and other international partners,’’ Peterside added. (NAN)