There is need to increase the level of patrol on our water ways. Government has to do a lot in this regard. They have to send out the ships and helicopters out for patrol and surveillance because this is how it is done globally. Piracy is not a rocket science situation that cannot be dealt with. At least we have a lot of gun boats now unlike in the past where we use to have one or two so I see no reason why we cannot do a 24 hour patrol as a deterrent to the pirates. If they know you are out there, they will certainly not come near. I don’t want to subscribe to the idea of conspiracy because this government has a very strong military base now. If government is fighting Boko Haram and winning the war, I don’t see why war against piracy cannot be won. Even if there is conspiracy I have the strong believe in the people leading the military now and that the government can fight it.
We need to put a square peg in a square hole. Prior to this time I think the surveillance of our territorial waters was given to the wrong hands that is the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) which is not supposed to be. It is not supposed to be handled by civilians. It is the responsibility of the Nigerian Navy to take charge of surveillance of the water ways. Government should therefore improve on its surveillance by providing adequate facilities to survey and police our territorial waters like having ships that will parade the waters to make sure that piracy is completely eradicated or if not reduced to a barest minimum. Another thing is the budget. There is an allocation that will go to security if the budget is eventually approved. Security is an important factor.
The government needs to take concerted action in taking total awareness of the maritime domain so that they are constantly monitored and can nip these activities in the bud. Secondly, the laws relating to piracy attack needs to be firm because the law at the moment is not firm enough to deal with piracy. So we need to make sure that the law is enacted and implemented to deal with this ugly trend. Dealing with piracy attacks and court action can be very cumbersome even globally so we need to revisit that. We also need to have a concentrated approach where ship owners have clear guidelines on what to do in the event of
pirates attack. I know the present government is determined to try to reduce that and the ship owning community will work with the government. There are many initiatives within the industry now to raise awareness on the reduction of piracy.
Engr. Emmanuel Ilori
The best thing for government to do is to set up private security companies to monitor our waterways or otherwise they use the Navy, but both must work hand in hand. It is just like if you don’t have police on the road, arm robbery will increase. If government now buy patrol vessels for the navy and if anything happens within their area of coverage, they will be answerable but if the government has not done anything, then that would not be possible and government cannot say they don’t have money for that because they are collecting money from ship owners’ for this type of sea protection to be done. So they have to do their duty otherwise, it will come to a time where ship owners’ will take up this issue with government. They have been collecting money from us to protect our vessels but the vessels are not being protected. Insurance on vessels are also going up and it is the nation that is losing.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.