The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has reiterated the federal government’s commitment to intensify the fight against piracy in Nigeria’s territorial waters.
He said the need to intensify the anti-piracy campaign was in line with the country’s quest to ensure that the ills associated with piracy are tackled for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians in the months ahead.
Global maritime watchdog, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), had in the last three years mounted a worldwide campaign against the menace of piracy, especially in member nations’ territorial waters.
Umar who stated this at this year celebration of the world maritime day which took place at the Cross River State capital, Calabar said global efforts in enhancing security and disaster risk reduction strategies in Nigeria’s maritime domain is a task that must be accomplished.
“In terms of maritime safety and security, Nigeria has appointed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the designated authority (DA) to coordinate the implementation of the International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS Code)”, he said.
Umar, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr. Nebolisa Emodi, said in an effort to combat piracy and robbery at sea, NIMASA, in conjunction with the private sector, has deployed additional platforms and information and communications technology (ICT) based systems for tracking of ship movements within maritime Nigeria domain.
Said he: “At the regional level, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for West and Central Africa, popularly called the Abuja MoU, is in place to safeguard against substandard shipping within the sub-region through the port state control activities”.
On capacity building, Umar disclosed that over 600 youths had been sponsored for training as seafarers to various institutions abroad while another batch of youths would soon leave for the training in various countries.
He also revealed that efforts are at advanced state to upgrade the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State to a degree awarding institution through affiliation with the World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden.
The theme of the 2013 World Maritime Day celebration was ‘Sustainable development: IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20’.