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Inter-agency Collaboration Key to Maritime Security – NIMASA Boss

If Nigeria is to secure her maritime space, there has to be productive collaboration between relevant agencies.

The Director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, restated this in Lagos during the official handover of pirates arrested by the Nigerian Navy for prosecution.

 

Photograph of the arrested pirates during their parade at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos.

The 10 pirates who had, on May 15,2020, attacked and boarded a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II, off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire and directed it towards Nigerian waters were arrested by the Nigerian Navy, which dispatched a ship to intercept the vessel after it got an alert.

The prosecution of the pirates would be the first trial of bandits arrested in international waters under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act signed into law in June last year by President Muhammadu Buhari. The law made Nigeria the first in West and Central Africa to have a distinct anti-piracy legislation.

Jamoh attributed the successful operation that led to the arrest of the pirates and rescue of the ship and its crew to the collaboration between his agency and the Nigerian Navy. He said the Aagency will continue to work with relevant security agencies in order to achieve its goal of eradicating piracy and all forms of illegality on the nation’s waters.

“We have just witnessed the handover of pirates. This is as a result of the robust collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy. There has been a lot of synergy between NIMASA and the Navy with regard to the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act.

“I also want to seize the opportunity to thank Mr. President for signing the anti-piracy law, which will facilitate sufficient prosecution of these pirates,” said Jamoh, who was represented by the Agency’s Head of Legal Services Victor Egejuru.

He further assured that, with the anti-piracy law, there was ample legal framework to prosecute pirates and other perpetrators of maritime offences in the country to bring the menace to the “barest minimum”.

Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, who gave details of the naval operation, said the vessel had 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivoriens.
“On interception of the vessel about 140nm south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates had refused to comply with the orders of the Navy, hence the Nigerian Navy had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel. All ship crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were also arrested.”
 He stressed the need for increased regional cooperation and information sharing, disclosing that the arrest of the pirates was due to a tip-off by the Beninoise Navy. Shettima warned criminal elements to stay away from Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, saying the Navy has the capability to deal with such threats.

Jamoh assured that the current management of NIMASA will focus on three main areas, namely; maritime security, safety and shipping development, in pursuit of a robust maritime domain for the country.

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