Piracy Capable of Crippling Economy, Says NIMASA

Peace Obi

To attain economic growth and development of the nation’s maritime sector, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, has reiterated the need to ensure safety on our waterways.

He argued that piracy activities are capable of robbing the nation the much needed economic growth and confidence from the international community if piracy is not checked.

Receiving the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Samuel Ilesanmi Alade on a courtesy visit to Maritime House, the corporate headquarters of NIMASA in Lagos recently, Akpobolokemi commended Nigerian Navy’s partnership with NIMASA in fighting piracy over the years.

Describing both institutions as partners in progress, he stressed the need for the two organizations to continue to work together for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.

His words: “Piracy is capable of crippling the nation’s economy. Since shipping largely contributes to the growth of any economy, the economy cannot thrive where piracy activities are carried out. And as regulatory agency, NIMASA owe the international community the obligation to assure the safety of their vessels, crew and cargo in order to foster shipping trade between Nigeria and the rest of the world.”

Alade in his response assured NIMASA boss of a more mutually beneficial relationship with the Navy and that his command is committed to the task of ensuring safety on the nation’s coastal ways and making it attractive to potential investors.

“The Nigerian Navy will ensure that the partnership between it and NIMASA grows from strength to strength and will continue to work hard to ensure that the nation’s maritime sector is more attractive and business friendly to potential investors,” he said.

Source: http://www.thisdaylive.com

Maritime Security News Note:
Where do you start with NIMASA and Nigeria? This is the same organisation which handed Tompolo, a former commander of MEND, a huge contract worth millions and millions of dollars to protect the nation’s waterways in the guise of Global West Vessel Specialists Ltd. The same Tompolo who bought himself a Lear Jet last year. Not bad for a guy whose qualifications probably include field stripping an AK-47.

Job done, you’d have thought. But no. We then have Akpobolokemi of NIMASA state in December last year that suggested increases in maritime crime and piracy are exaggerated. And yet the first 10 weeks of 2014 have seen a huge number of merchant crew kidnapped off Nigeria by armed gunmen and several attacks on tankers as well as one high profile hijacking off Angola.

Where is Global West Vessel Specialists when you need them? And then we have those allegations of fraud within NIMASA.

If NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy want to improve maritime security in Nigeria, then a far more concerted effort is needed. For all the talk of cooperation, AIS monitoring, video surveillance and the Nigerian Navy’s decision to ‘park up’ in crime hot spots, incidents still occur with frightening regularity and are not officially reported. There are still crew being held by gunmen in Nigeria, and few if any of them have made the headlines. NIMASA’s comments will come as a great comfort to them in their captivity.





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