The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has said that International Oil Companies (IOCs’) are fuelling sea pirates on the nation’s water.
Speaking in Lagos over the weekend while giving details of his 100 days in office, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said he set a one year target to return Nigeria back to the exclusive White List of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The NIMASA boss revealed that he currently has information on a suspected pirate who works with Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO).
The White List is a list of countries assessed by the International Maritime Organization as properly implementing the STCW-95 (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) convention.
According to the NIMASA DG, “There are two Key Performance Indicators (KPIs’) that we have set for ourselves, Firstly, Nigeria has to be back on the White List of the IMO.
“This is a target that I have set for myself in my four years as DG NIMASA. Hopefully, by the end of next year, I will like to see Nigeria back on the IMO White List. This is our number one target in NIMASA.”
“Our second target has to do with the IMO Category C seat. We can only be relevant in the committee of maritime nations if we have seat in the IMO Council. By November next year, Nigeria has to be back on the IMO Category C seat.
“Nigeria has given me four years to actualize these things, but I have set for myself November next year to ensure these things are actualized.”
On the recently arrested maritime pirates, the NIMASA DG stated that by next week, the arrested pirates will be arraigned. In his words, “This is a test case for the workability of the Anti-Piracy law. The international community is currently focused on us to see what we will do with the arrested pirates, whether we will let them go scot free.
“This is the concern of the international community now, and we will make sure we don’t disappoint.”
“Recently in January this year, one of our informants showed me a picture of a suspected well known pirate who currently works with Shell. He told me that if we can arrest the suspected pirate, we will get much information from him regarding maritime insecurity.”
“Even last week, a Naval officer gave me the name of a person that ought to be arrested. That if we arrest that person, we will get a lot of information and intelligence on maritime insecurity in our waters from him. What we are doing now is investing so much on intelligence gathering. It was through intelligence gathering that we were able to arrest the maritime pirates that were paraded recently.”
The Federal Ministry of Transportation is also putting final touches to arrangements for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), he revealed, stressing that operators in the maritime industry would soon begin to access the fund.
Jamoh also spoke on the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), saying it is being redesigned to make it more effective.
He appealed to the media to ensure adequate and fair reportage of the activities of NIMASA, Nigeria’s maritime industry regulatory agency, in order to properly inform and educate the public. He said the sector had the potential to exponentially grow the Nigerian economy, given the enormous flora and fauna in the maritime environment, besides mineral resources and shipping activities.
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