No fewer than 244 vessels have been intercepted by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over their alleged involvement in piracy on Nigeria’s territorial waters in the last two years. The vessels were alleged to have been involved in sea robbery, illegal bunkering and other criminal activities in Nigerian maritime domain.
This was disclosed by the Director-General, NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, in a speech he presented at the just concluded ground-breaking ceremony of the Maritime University (NMU), NIMASA Dockyard/Shipyard facility at Gbaeramatu Kingdom, Warri South, Delta State.
The NIMASA helmsman maintained that the collaboration of the agency with the Nigerian Navy as well as other security agencies have helped it to maintain and sustain physical presence in all the remote areas of Nigeria’s maritime domain.
He argued that through the partnership, the powers of the agency to enforce compliance to the provisions of the Cabotage Act have increased.
He pointed out that as a result of the physical patrol of the waters, incidences of security breaches have continued to decline in both frequency and scale of success.
His words: “The last two years of our acquiring operational and enforcement capability has led to the arrest of over 244 vessels. Their offences range from piracy and sea robbery, economic sabotage, illicit activities to non-compliance with regulatory regimes and evasion of statutory levy payment. Our activities in the area of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) have got a significant boost through our improved enforcement capability.
“NIMASA as a maritime administrator (MARAD) with coastal, flag and port state responsibilities is now able to physically patrol, monitor, enforce and where necessary interdict suspects and vessels that breach our maritime laws no matter where they are located in our waters.”
He assured that the agency is still working hard to ensure that it establishes and maintains its physical presence in all remote areas of Nigeria’s maritime domain.
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