The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has inaugurated the Expert Level Planning Team (ELPT) of the Agency to draft the National Maritime Security Strategy (NMSS) to sustain the Agency’s successes in the fight against piracy.
Jamoh also commended the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for its technical support to Nigeria by assigning facilitators to assist the country.
According to the DG, maritime security will always be of priority concern to the Agency, noting that it is the bedrock and guarantee of every meaningful shipping enterprise.
The NIMASA DG said the strategy would become the culmination of all the various efforts,initiatives, partnerships the Agency started out under its “Triple S” of Maritime Security, Safety and Shipping Development upon his assumption of office in March 2020.
He said, “There can be no doubt, to the fact that maritime security is the bedrock and guarantee of every meaningful shipping enterprise. From the crew to cargo to carrier to the coast and quayside, there must be security all the way for confidence to drive shipping economics.
“Maritime security has always been and will continue to remain a priority. You are all aware of the current successes achieved in ensuring maritime security within the nation’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) as a whole.
“Specifically, the GoG region is experiencing an unprecedented decline in piracy incidents over the past three decades. Only as recently as last week, the International Maritime Bureau (the IMB) finally confirmed all the progress we have been making and announcing for months the said Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea – has declined for real. This is a fact that we can all be proud of.
“Also, this is the product of concerted efforts of the Agency in collaboration with other relevant government bodies such as the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Army, the Department of State Security (DSS), and several other state and non-state actors and stakeholders having security responsibilities.
Jamoh pointed out that NIMASA is mindful of the dynamic nature of maritime security threats; hence the need to take deliberate steps to ensure sustainability of its achievements, through the establishment of a coordinated, whole-of-government approach in dealing with issues of maritime security.
He stated that the Agency’s strategic responsibilities to protect ships, seafarers, shipload, merchandise, ports and all other assets in Nigeria’s maritime domain as mandated by the NIMASA Act, ISPS Code Implementation Regulations (2014) and, more recently, the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act makes it pertinent for it to successfully drive the collaborative development of the NMSS.
“I am therefore hopeful that by the end of this program, not only will you be trained as Maritime Security Professionals (MSPs), you will also be equipped with the requisite skills to offer similar training on behalf of the Agency to individuals who intend to carry out specific maritime security functions.
“The Expert Learning Planning Team (ELPT) is to develop a blueprint of the National Maritime Security Strategy (NMSS). This would serve as the basis for your determination of the members of the cross government Working Group (WG) that will execute subsequent steps of this drafting process.
Jamoh thanked the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the technical assistance through Philip Heyl and Rear Admiral O.C Medani of the Nigerian Navy (Rtd) facilitating the sessions.
He added that the IMO’s unflinching assistance has enabled the Agency to develop a workable, multi-phase plan, which it is currently executing.