…As NIMASA seals partnership deal with Singaporean MPA
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has called for multi-stakeholder approach in tackling rising cases of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
This is even as the agency and the Maritime and Ports Authority (MPA) of Singapore have held a bilateral meeting to seek areas of collaboration between the two maritime regulators at the sidelines of the Maritime Regulators Forum holding in Singapore.
Speaking to journalists recently at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja on his way to Singapore, Dr. Peterside said that a legal framework that prescribes stiffer sanctions, a more vigorous and vigilant military led patrol and better intelligence gathering network will help but cannot be all the solution to tackling sea piracy.
The NIMASA DG who noted that the activities of pirates stifle shipping and by extension commerce which is the major driver of global economy observed that “it is because of the priority attention given to tackling piracy that America created the coast guard which has so far proven effective in tackling piracy”.
At the Forum, Dr. Dakuku Peterside met with his counterpart at the Maritime and Ports Authority (MPA) of Singapore, Mr. Andrew Tan where they pledged to collaborate for the benefit of both countries.
While explaining to Mr. Tan that Nigeria has huge maritime potentials that have remained untapped, he called on Singapore investors to take advantage of the reforms in Nigeria’s maritime sector to invest in the country.
Dr. Dakuku also requested partnership with the Singaporean authorities in various areas including technology acquisition for monitoring of the waterways, capacity building of personnel, support to upgrade maritime infrastructure a well as acquisition of more ocean going vessels for indigenous operators.
NIMASA boss further assured Singapore investors and indeed the global community of NIMASA’s commitment to focus on effective enforcement of all IMO instruments for which Nigeria is a signatory as well as build the requisite capacity of personnel & infrastructure for the execution of its mandate saying clean and safe oceans and security of ships operating in Nigerian waters remain a top priority.
Responding, Mr. Andrew Tan who described Nigeria as the new destination for future maritime investments also expressed surprise that there was no institutional relationship between Nigeria and Singapore despite the fact that Singapore is the second busiest and first trans-shipment port in the world and Nigeria a major maritime hub in West and central Africa.
The MPA Chief Executive further suggested that Nigeria can benefit from Singapore’s well developed and excess maritime capacity while Singapore can benefit from Nigeria’s huge market.
Asked if NIMASA and Nigeria is considering setting up a specialized coast guard like the US did, Dr. Peterside said every avenue will be explored towards keeping Nigerian waterways safe as well as the ships that ply them but that it requires wider consultation highlighting that NIMASA under his leadership is already championing a number of initiatives aimed at achieving zero pirate activities in Nigerian waters.
While lamenting the unfortunate inclusion of Nigeria among the top three countries where pirate activities occur, the DG said that with the new fighting impetus, the trend will be reversed in no distant time as his administration is committed to repositioning NIMASA for the accomplishment of its core mandate of ensuring safe, secure shipping and a cleaner marine environment.
The DG who travelled to Singapore at the invitation of the MPA of Singapore, was billed to address a forum of maritime regulators and experts at this year’s Singapore Maritime Week on the topic “Indispensible Shipping: Meeting the Regulatory Requirements”.