THE Ports Facility Security Officer Forum of Nigeria, PFSOFN, has said that collaboration among agencies of government was key to security in the maritime industry, a development that will attract more investment in the sector.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the just concluded annual conference of the PFSOFN, Chairman of the Forum, Barrister Emmanuel Onyeabadi, said that a better synergy and collaboration among agencies will go a long way in eliminating conflicts between government security agencies.
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MarsecNews: In my opinion, one of the main issues in Nigeria is the number of agencies all competing in the same maritime space. If anything, the answer is to combine those agencies and create a proper hierarchy which can then offer real leadership and task personnel accordingly, without worrying about treading on other agencies’ toes.
Itoruboemi Benson Lobia, one of the Nigerian pirates, arrived on Thursday (4 December) at Schipol airport from South Africa, and immediately transferred to Dutch justice, according to the NOS television channel. This after a procedure that lasted almost two years.
The Dutch-flagged FWN Rapide of Groningen , owned by the shipping company ForestWave, was attacked by pirates off the coast of Harcourt Harbor on the night of 21-22 April 2018. It was coming from Tadokari in Ghana. Eleven of the 14 crew members were abducted and held hostage for several weeks. The remaining men – who had been hiding during the attack – managed to maneuver the ship for shelter. The hostages were released a few weeks later, on May 18, after paying a ransom. The pirates were asking for $ 2 million, they finally got $ 340,000 according to the Dagblad Noorden.
Despite ongoing incidents of piracy in Asia, international co-operation efforts are having genuine success at containing the issue. Various policy initiatives are showing promise for the security of the region’s sea lanes, now and into the future, Sam Bateman writes.
Since I wrote on the subject of piracy in Asia for Policy Forum in 2016, the situation has shown marked improvement. According to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), there were 76 incidents in Asia in 2018 as compared with 203 in 2015. In the first nine months of 2019, 54 incidents occurred in the region as compared with 64 in the same period of 2018, a significant drop by any measure.
We are delighted to confirm that late on Friday evening, December 6, 2019, the nine crew members from MV Bonita held as hostages, were released in Nigeria and brought to a safe place in southern Nigeria, after 35 days in captivity.
All crew members have gone through medical examinations Friday and Saturday. The doctor declared all nine fit to fly/travel on Saturday. Needless to say, the captivity has been a very difficult experience for them. The crew members will receive further care and follow up after arrival in the Philippines. Ugland will continue to work with our crew members throughout their recovery process.
After being safely transported out of Nigeria, the crew members have now safely arrived in Manila, Philippines, to reunite with their families and colleagues.
Representatives from Ugland headquarters’ in Grimstad, Norway and other parties have been actively engaged in the process of bringing the hostages home and have been present both in Nigeria and the Philippines.
We are very thankful and relieved that the crew are now free and back home. President Øystein Beisland says: “We are truly happy that the nine crew members are now reunited with their families and have their wellbeing at heart. I would on behalf of the company like to sincerely thank all parties that have contributed to resolving this difficult situation”.
Maritime security concerns in the Sulu-Celebes Sea, like kidnap for ransom and terrorism, are expected to be addressed as the Philippines and Indonesia renew their commitment to enforce security in the said sea.
The Philippines, through the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Indonesia, through the Indonesian Maritime Security Force also known as Humas Bakamla RI (BAKAMLA), aim to intensify maritime security cooperation through the re-signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with implementing arrangement (IA) that will be held in Bali, Indonesia next year.