By Jacinta Nwachukwu/Chiazo Ogbolu
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Tuesday pledged to provide logistics and formulate policies that would sustain piracy decline in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
Dr Bashir Jamoh, Director-General of NIMASA, made the pledge at the Fifth Plenary of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (GoG-MCF/SHADE).
The forum had the theme: ”Enduring and Sustainable Security”.
Jamoh said that, in sustaining piracy decline, collaboration was of essence among member-countries so that each country’s boundaries and limitations would be considered, to prevent any form of conflict.
According to Jamoh, the regional forum provided an opportunity to share mutual maritime concerns, jointly face threats and create mitigations.
According to him, Nigeria, through NIMASA
and the Nigerian Navy, stands ready as co-chair of the SHADE to continue to provide every necessary support in collaboration with the ICC.
He said that SHADE would be nutured to maturity and give laudable results.
“Two years ago, we connected virtually with a dark, sad and persistent cloud of blue crimes enveloping the region, but today we gathered with the cloud opening and we are seeing the sun gradually shining through.
“No one can easily forget the frequent reports of attacks on ships and kidnapping of seafarers in the GoG in 2019 and 2020 when they reached their peak,” he said.
Jamoh noted that the attacks had negative economic effects on seaborne trade in the region.
“While it is important to recognise success so far made, the future must, however, be the focus.
“Our deliberation over the next two days must be forward-looking even as it seeks to provide specific ways to maintain the current momentum, offer concrete solutions to ensure sustainability and build on success,” he said.
He said that more remained to be done in terms of the legal framework to enable SHADE’s existence.
“SHADE must be nurtured to remain a force for good.
“As members, we owe a collective duty to this forum to keep its dialogue robust and guard it from slipping into complacency as to become a toothless bulldog.
“Our SHADE must be strengthened through cooperation, coordination, collaboration and communication.
“Security success can never be solitary achievements,” he said.
Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Awwal Gambo, said that SHADE would offer a veritable platform for GoG nations and other partner-nations to congregate and cooperate to address piracy challenge facing the region.
Gambo represented by Rear Admiral Garba Saidu, Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Navy, said that challenges experienced by member-countries should not deter their collaborative efforts toward reinforcing initiatives to advance and coordinate maritime security activities.
“Much has been achieved but there is still room for greater collaboration in the areas of information sharing, increased presence of naval assets and strengthened legal frameworks among the GoG nations as well as international partners.
“The safety and security of shipping in the GoG is a vital enabler in the recovery process of global economy and trade suffered due to COVID 19 pandemic.
“It is therefore imperative for us to succeed in this drive,” he said.
Other stakeholders present at the plenary include Dr Paul Adalikwu, Secretary-General, Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa; Admiral Narciso Fastudo, Director, Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC-Yaounde); and Rear Admiral Solomon Agada, Co-Chair, SHADE-GoG/Maritime Collaboration Forum.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SHADE was established by Nigeria and 22 other countries of the ICC in July 2021.
The forum is to implement more effective operational counter-piracy cooperation between navies and shipping industries. (NAN)