The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (“NIMASA” or “the agency”), Dr. Dakuku Peterside informed newsmen and other stakeholders that NIMASA has put mechanisms in place to reduce piracy on Nigerian waters to the barest minimum. He made this statement while receiving a delegation from the International Maritime Security Operations Team (“IMSOT”) on Tuesday in Lagos. Leigh Smith, the IMSOT Team Leader commended NIMASA for its efforts to maintain security on the country’s territorial waters and high seas and urged continuous collaboration in the areas of technology and information-sharing.
According to Dr. Peterside, the agency has invested in satellite surveillance systems, which have the capacity to monitor the movement of vessels on the country’s waterways. The agency is also supporting security agencies to acquire assets that will enable them to fight piracy and other maritime crimes. In addition, NIMASA is proposing an anti-piracy bill which, upon becoming law, will give NIMASA the authority to prosecute maritime related crimes, among others.
The importance of the efforts being made by NIMASA cannot be over-emphasized, as the incidence of piracy has had a direct impact on the Nigerian economy. The latest series of pirate attacks on Nigerian waters has given the country a negative image. It has also increased the cost of freight significantly, as shipowners and crew members often demand for higher insurance premiums before embarking on a voyage to Nigeria.
Sources: The Guardian and The News Chronicle.
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