By Steve Agbota and Henry Uche
Ahead of the December International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council election, Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has called on the international maritime community to support Nigeria’s bid for reinstatement to Category C.
Speaking at the third Seminar of the Atlantic Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, on Tuesday, Jamoh sought support of Nigeria’s friends to vote for the country into the council of IMO in the election that comes up in few weeks time.
He said: “We ask for your vote and count on your continued confidence in the efforts of Nigeria to work in partnership with other nation states in the Gulf of Guinea to continue keeping our corridor of the Atlantic Ocean a safe passage for seafarers, their vessels and the vital supplies they transport for our common sustenance”.
The DG, who also requested removal of Nigeria by the global shipping community from designation as a war risk zone which causes increased insurance premium, also explained recent efforts by the Federal Government to make the country’s waters safer for crew members, vessels and cargoes.
He added that deployment of security vessels on waters adjoining the Atlantic Ocean should be in line with international laws without undermining the national sovereignty of countries within West and Central Africa.
Jamoh said: “In 2018, Nigeria initiated a project known as Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure (Deep Blue Project), as a robust tool to combat piracy, armed robbery, and other maritime crimes within Nigeria’s territorial waters and by extension the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
“To further bolster Nigeria’s effort in fighting crimes at sea, the government signed into law the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, (SPOMO) 2019. This piece of legislation gave effect to the provisions of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 on piracy and the International Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Navigation (SUA), 1998 and its protocol. Since the law came into effect, convictions of at least 20 pirates have been secured under the Act with offenders currently serving various jail terms.