Former President, Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria (MASPAN), Captain George Alily (rtd), has called for increased collaboration in information sharing among littoral states in the country to support the maritime security architecture being put in place by the government to secure the nation’s waterways against pirates’ attacks.
Speaking against the backdrop of the latest global piracy report released by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) for the third quarter of 2019, which showed a reduction in cases of pirates attack in the country, Alily said the development is an indication that the Government was stepping up its efforts at improving maritime security.
The IMB in its third quarter report had noted that Nigeria’s maritime piracy attacks reduced from 41 in the third quarter of 2018 to 29 in the third quarter of 2019 even though Nigeria reported more attacks than any other country in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to the retired Navy Captain, “The report is quite positive. It showed that quite a lot is being done by the government to secure our waters both in the new piracy law that gives teeth to the legal aspect of it and the agreement with HSLI security firm to provide the needed spot in the maritime environment in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, which is also going into force as we speak. The control room in NIMASA is up and running and a few other things are being put in place including the infrastructure and training. So I believe things will become very apparent in the next few months when everything has been put in place.
“But beyond the efforts of the Federal Government, the littoral states including Lagos, Ondo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Delta, need to look at the economic imperatives in their littorals. It is until we have a stable climate that things will begin to manifest calmly in the waterways. The maritime security architecture being put in place by the government needs to be supported by the efforts of the littoral states to ensure that they have a stable economy.
“Once we have a synergy between the littoral states and what is being put in place, I can assure you that piracy and other criminal activities will reduce to the barest minimum.”
Alily, who also lauded the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for abolishing the secured anchorage area operations managed by private security firms, said the move would further reduced cost and insurance premium on vessels calling at the Lagos ports.
“The move is a welcome development; it is something that MASPAN had advocated for a long time. That area is among the Nigeria littorals, so we thought it unwise for a private concern to delineate an area within our waters and charge for security where you have the Navy, NIMASA and other security agencies that are suppose to provide security in our waters in the anchorage and places like that. It is long overdue. Those charged with the responsibility will secure our waterways without having a designated area termed secure anchorage. This will reduce the cost, insurance premium and designation of our waters as high risk areas,” he said.