By Sulaimon Salau and Joke Falaju
Worried by the impact of maritime crime on the regional economy, Nigeria has sought partnership with other countries to tackle the menace headlong.
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, who made this call at the ongoing Global Maritime Security Conference, in Abuja, said maritime insecurity remains one of the significant challenges affecting international trade, and the quest for sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihood and job creation.
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MarsecNews: If NIMASA is genuinely looking to collaborate with other nations on maritime crime, then it could be a significant move for the Gulf of Guinea. Traditionally, navies in the region have been slow to cooperate with one another but when they have, it has paid dividends. Overall intelligence sharing in the Gulf of Guinea between states has been poor, but efforts in recent years have improved the situation slightly. There remains, however, an issue with certain nations who have multiple agencies all vying for government funding and competing with one another for relevance. As organised criminal gangs have shifted from petro-piracy to crew kidnap for ransom, the speed of naval response becomes more crucial; it’s a lot harder to track a skiff full of hostages than a tanker.
Genuine cooperation between nation states in the Gulf of Guinea would go a long way to suppress maritime crimes such as piracy and armed robbery, allowing for faster response times. However, as long as some countries continue to downplay the threat of piracy, the situation will persist.