The initiatives of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensuring security in the Gulf of Guinea received a major boost from the international business community, when key players in the global oil and gas as well as shipping businesses commended the agency at a maritime security meeting in London chaired by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), pledging their support.
Members of the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) committed to a collaboration with the IMO in support of NIMASA’s efforts to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The agreement was reached at an IMO-sponsored Maritime Security and Facilitation (MSF) meeting, which had in attendance officials of the United Nations specialised maritime regulatory agency, led by the Secretary-General, Kitack Lim; the management of NIMASA led by the Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; representatives of OCIMF, INTERTANKO, ICS, INTERCARGO, Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), and President of Chevron Worldwide, Mr. Mark Ross.
Lim, who chaired the meeting, called for stakeholders’ collaboration to overcome the challenges in the Gulf of Guinea. While acknowledging the efforts of NIMASA to tackle insecurity in the region, the IMO Secretary-General pledged the organisation’s support for Nigeria.
He stated, “We at the IMO are very much interested. It’s gladdening to note that something is being done about the issue of security in the Gulf of Guinea. Something is happening much more than ever before. We want to cruise together. I think we can make a big difference with collaboration from all stakeholders. “The global maritime security conference in Abuja is also very important. It is a ground-breaking conference to chart a way forward for securing the Gulf of Guinea. IMO will actively participate.”
Stakeholders at the meeting acknowledged the attempts by the Nigerian government to combat maritime crimes and promised to back those efforts with more assets to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. They also promised to support the hosting of the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC) in Abuja.
Over 80 countries have confirmed participation, 28 Navies across the globe have also confirmed participation, with 15 Chiefs of Naval Staff personally leading their delegations to the conference.
However, Dakuku informed the meeting that the C4i Centre, which is already in operation, made use of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to identify Non-AIS complying vessels.