PIRACY

Navy, NIMASA to Harmonise Training for Improved Maritime Security


The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy are to harmonise their training procedures for the improved safety and security of the country’s maritime space.
This was revealed in Lagos, when the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, played host to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), Rear Admiral Fredrick Ogu, at the Agency’s headquarters.
Jamoh pointed out that a large chunk of the Agency’s budget went into the training of its workforce, adding that other stakeholders, including the Nigerian Navy, also benefit from training programmes facilitated by NIMASA in the overall interest of the maritime sector.
In a statement signed by the Head of Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Mr Phillip Kyanet, the DG said NIMASA would also look in the direction of naval facilities and how to harmonise the training guidelines to meet the standards required by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for certification.
“NIMASA invests so much in the training of her workforce,” Jamoh stated, adding, “Aside that, we have what we call non-staff educational assistance, which is also geared towards building capacity for the maritime sector, apart from our workforce. This we have also done by including navy personnel whenever the opportunity and the need arise. In this wise, we are open to approval of training facilities across the country as long as they meet IMO’s training standards.”
Jamoh said NIMASA was not an armed organisation and could not achieve its mandate without the Nigerian Navy. He said the Navy/NIMASA relationship had come a long way, and predated the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that birthed the Maritime Guard Command, manned by naval officers and domiciled in the Agency.
The DG spoke on the Deep Blue Project, also known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, which aims to comprehensively tackle insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Gulf of Guinea. He said, “Most of our Deep Blue Project assets are already in the country and most of these assets, like the Special Mission Vessels and aircraft, would be manned and commanded by the officers of the Nigerian Navy. What is causing a little delay in the deployment is the training component because some of these trainings would be done outside the shores of the country. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic there is a little delay in the training programme.”
Earlier in his comments, Ogu, who was appointed FOC, Naval Training Command, in June, reiterated the need for NIMASA and the Navy to work together closely in training and on other fronts. He emphasised NIMASA’s role in the certification of most maritime-related training programmes.
“I know we have an existing MoU with NIMASA, which makes it easier for us to relate on many fronts,” Ogu said. “The importance of NIMASA to our trainings cannot be overstated. They are the ones who issue certificates for our basic mandatory and survival at sea trainings. So there is need for us to harmonise our training methods to further enhance our capacity,” he added.
The FOC also disclosed that the Navy had training facilities that were available to both civilians and military personnel. He urged Nigerians willing to take up a career in the maritime sector to take advantage of the naval facilities across the country.



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NIMASA: Tackling Piracy in Nigeria, Gulf of Guinea

By Francis Ugwoke

The menace of piracy within the nation’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea has for a long time remained the concern of Nigeria and her neighbouring West African countries. This is considering the implication on the national economy and to a large extent the international shipping community. Over the years, the West and Central African states had suffered blackmail from international conference liners as a result of piracy in Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea. According to the latest report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) , the number of crew kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea increased more than 50% from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in its analysis equates this figure to over 90% of global kidnappings reported at sea with 64 crew members kidnapped across six separate incidents in the last quarter of 2019 alone. The report had it that the region “accounted for 64 incidents including all four vessel hijackings that occurred in 2019, as well as 10 out of 11 vessels that reported coming under fire”.
The Director of the ICC International Maritime Bureau, Michael Howlett, was early this year quoted saying, “We remain concerned that this region has recorded an unprecedented rise in crew kidnaps”.
The liners in response to the attacks have had to introduce their own security measures to check the pirates. Part of this includes having armed personnel on board vessels when on voyage to Nigeria and other West African states. This means extra cost to the liners. While this is good, the sad aspect of this arrangement is the fact that the shippers are the ones that pay for the cost of hiring these guards. This is by way of various shipping charges/surcharges introduced by the liners through their agents. It would be recalled that the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) as the ports economic regulator had cried out over the effect of such surcharges on the economy. But the fact remains that there appears to be clear justification if liners introduce charges to cover costs on what is spent on armed guards protecting them during voyage to Nigeria and West African countries.
War against piracy
With the largest market with records of more shipping traffic, Nigeria is spearheading a strong war against pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. As the apex maritime regulatory agency, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is saddled with the corporate responsibility of addressing issues of piracy and other armed attacks on Nigerian waters. In line with this, NIMASA had in the past few years championed the deployment of an integrated maritime security infrastructure that is expected to check piracy in the country. Few months ago, the Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi hinted of the planned launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure which is also referred to as the Deep Blue Project. The planned launch follows government’s decision to terminate the contract on secure anchorage project which provided security to big time liners on voyage to Nigeria.
According to the Minister, the deep blue project remains the only way to reduce piracy on the nation’s waters and the GoG when it comes into force.
Amaechi had said, “Recall that we secured an approval from the Federal Executive Council to introduce a maritime security architecture, which is coming to fruition. We engaged the Homeland Security International (HLSI), who are only to provide training and equipment, while the Nigerian Navy would lead the Police, Nigerian Army and Department of State Services, among others that would run the equipment.”
Except for the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe, the management of NIMASA had early this year said that the 80 percent of the assets required for implementation of the deep blue project would be ready by June, 2020.
NIMASA’s preparation for the war against piracy has been on for long with the launch of two special mission vessels built in Netherlands. The two vessels were launched in July 2019.The vessels acquired through an Israeli company, Blue Octagon, are to check issues of maritime security , including inspection and rescue operations by NIMASA, tackling illegal fishing, terrorism, oil theft, illegal immigration and smuggling . The two vessels, DB Abuja and DB Lagos, are designed in such a way that a helicopter can land on the aft deck. Each of the vessels has the capacity to carry as much as 38 people. Among other security infrastructure planned by NIMASA in the fight against piracy included 10 fast interceptor boats, seven more which are expected in the country during the year, two special mission aircraft, three helicopters, four unmanned aerial vehicles and 16 armoured vehicles.
At the recent inauguration of the Board of NIMASA, Amaechi had reminded the agency to speed up with the completion of the Deep Blue Project. The project, according to Amaechi, remained critical to maritime security in Nigeria and the entire West and Central Africa region. The Minister disclosed that about 60 per cent of the project’s cost had been paid by the federal government.
In his words, the success of NIMASA would to a great extent be dependent on the completion of the project.
Chairman of the Board, Hon. Asita O. Asita, had in turn pledged to work harmoniously with the NIMASA management to deliver the agency’s mandate. He said, “If we must trade as a country, we need the waterways to be safe.”
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, on assuming office had expressed his commitment to develop the blue economy for the interest of the country. He had said, “As you already know, NIMASA has the core mandate of promoting and regulating shipping in the country. Concomitant with this mandate is the responsibility of ensuring safety of the Nigerian maritime domain for ease of maritime transportation, which is one of the critical catalysts for economic development. It is in realisation of this, and in pursuit of the next level agenda of the President Mohammadu Buhari administration that I urge you all to join hands with us to build an enduring and prosperous maritime sector”.
Jamoh had also on the occasion of his 100 days in office restated the commitment of the agency in the war against piracy in Nigerian and the Gulf of Guinea. He said his agency was even more strengthened now following the passage of the Anti-piracy Law, adding that this will help a lot in the fight against piracy. Jamoh promised that NIMASA will introduce a new approach of having working groups who will identify problems and proffer solutions. He said, “We have sent good signals to the international communities and they understand that Nigeria is not sleeping, that the government of Nigeria is very serious in fighting this piracy.
“And then to those criminals, that they know we have trained 156 personnel from the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigeria Police Force, and the Attorney General of the Federation, whose responsibility it is to try these offenders.”
He disclosed that there will be a common purpose of the agency’s single window – C4i and that of the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy, NPA’s CEi maritime domain security platforms which will be targeted at having operational effectiveness for a common national objective..
He added, “We have a Regional Maritime Coordinating Centre here in Lagos, in our Resource Centre. This Centre takes care of nine countries in Africa. Where ever there is challenge of safety, this Centre will be available to respond to that, and we have four Centers.
“Our Resource Centre is working perfectly, we have imported the machineries, and all equipment are there. We have another at Takwa Bay – the equipment are already there, we are waiting for the experts to come from the UK to programme the equipment. Once we do that, we are finished with Lagos/ Western axis.
“In the Eastern and South-South part of the country, we have Bonny and Escravous. So, this one, we are importing the equipment from the UK. As soon as COVID-19 lockdown eases, we hope to bring the equipment and install. We are looking between September/October and we have our own Global Maritime Distress and Safety System(GMDSS) working perfectly. With these, there is no way with ship missing of having problem within our territorial water and outside.”
Industry stakeholders believe that once the issue of piracy is tackled as is being planned, it will usher in a better shipping environment in the country with Nigerian and the rest of African sub-region being able to challenge liners on rising charges for goods coming to this side of the continent. A maritime lawyer, Mr Emma Ofomata believes that once the pirate attacks are tackled, it will impact positively on maritime trade in Nigeria and the rest of the West African sub-region. Ofomata said, “efficient security has a way of promoting the economy generally. In the past few years, the excuses being given by shipping agents on some of the charges are traced to insecurity in our waters and the Gulf of Guinea. This was even the reason for the safe anchorage contract that was cancelled. So, once this problem is tackled with the latest efforts of the government, there is no doubt that Nigeria will be a safer place for liners and there will not be any need for having armed guards on board. This will in turn reduce charges on goods”.
Ofomata expressed optimism that the NIMASA management under Jamoh will hasten efforts at actualizing the dreams of the maritime community on having a pirate free shipping environment with the deep blue project. “Jamoh understands the need for the urgent facilitation of the project. He is committed to the project knowing full well its great importance to Nigeria”.
NIMASA is collaborating with the Nigerian Navy in the war against piracy, a development that has achieved some good results. The collaboration involves information sharing between NIMASA’s Command, Control, communication, computers, and Intelligence Centre (C4i Centre} of the Deep Blue Project, which operates on 24 hour basis since last year. Following the partnership, the Navy had arrested a vessel, MFV Marine 707, which was engaged in illegal fishing in Nigeria. 10 pirates who had boarded a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II, off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire and forced the vessel to sail towards Nigerian waters, were also arrested by the Navy.
IMO’s excitement
Apparently pleased with the efforts of NIMASA in the war against piracy, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), had recently commended the agency for the measures adopted by Nigeria in the fight against piracy internally and in the Gulf of Guinea GoG).
The Secretary General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, said in a letter to the Director-General of the agency , Dr. Bashir Jamoh, that the efforts by Nigeria on piracy was a “strong and valuable message” to the global community.
Lim said he was pleased by the update provided by Jamoh during a virtual meeting held in May during which all the efforts taken by Nigeria to address maritime security threats in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea were presented.
Commending NIMASA DG for such leadership and proactive response, the IMO scribe also congratulated the Nigerian Navy on the “successful capture and arrest of pirates from the fishing trawler Hailufeng11, and more recently on the rescue of the crewmembers of the containership Tommi Ritsche”.
He said, “Those actions, together with all the other initiatives you highlighted in our meeting, including progress with the Deep Blue Project, send a strong and valuable message to the international community with respect to the considerable efforts your government is making to curb piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Guinea”.
Jamoh who had at a virtual meeting raised concerns about piracy in the GoG had appealed for support from the international community to complement the efforts being taken by Nigeria towards addressing issues of maritime crimes.
He had said during the virtual meeting, “The recent arrests of pirates have opened our eyes to a new and even more dangerous dimension to the issue of piracy and armed robbery in our waters, and that is the issue of foreign collaboration. The arrests involved Nigerians and other nationalities, whose identities I cannot disclose because the cases are under investigation.
“Piracy is taking an international dimension. We now know that pirates and other maritime criminals in our waters and the Gulf of Guinea operate with strong backing from powerful international collaborators.
“So we earnestly desire the cooperation of the international community, individual countries, organisations, and individuals to stem the ugly tide of insecurity in our waters.
“We will continue to do our best and update IMO as we make progress with our strategies.”
Lim assured that he was ready to work with NIMASA for such important priority in the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Guinea.

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Maritime: Deep Blue Project to Secure All Anchorage Areas, Says NPA MD

… NIMASA, NPA agree on wreck removal to ease navigation
… Jamoh, Hadiza reiterate commitment to floating dock commencing operation July
The Federal Government has concluded arrangements to make the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, the central security structure for all anchorage areas in the Nigerian maritime domain.
This is to reduce the cost of shipping of goods into the country, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, said Tuesday in Lagos after a meeting with the Executive Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) led by the Director General Dr. Bashir Jamoh, at the Agency’s Headquarters in Lagos.
In a statement from the Head of Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Mr Phillip Kyanet, the NPA MD also disclosed that both agencies have agreed to work out modalities for effective removal of all wrecks and derelicts that may hinder navigations in the Nigerian waters.
According to Ms Usman, NIMASA and NPA are sister agencies and should be seen to be collaborating more for the growth of the maritime industry and the country generally.
She also disclosed that arrangements are in top gear to berth the NIMASA floating Dockyard permanently in order for it to commence operations in July.
“we had a range of discussions bordering on the Secure Anchorage Area which our supervising Ministry desires the Deep Blue Project to provide security for all anchorage areas in the country. Aside saving the country a lot of money, it will ensure that the security of the Nigerian Maritime domain is given a focal attention”.
Hadiza also disclosed that both Agencies agreed to interlink the C3i of the NPA and C4i of NIMASA in order to interchange information that would assist the Nigerian Navy’s response to security.
“we have the C3i Command, Control and Intelligence center at NPA and NIMASA has the c4i while the Navy has falcon eye. We need to interlink these facilities and we believe that this would assist the country in response to maritime security threats”.
Corroborating Hadiza’s stance, Dr. Bashir Jamoh reiterated the fact that there was need to harmonize most of the working models amongst all maritime Agencies to avoid duplication of duties which also leads to more costs.
Jamoh said the Secure Anchorage Area which has been a subject of debate amongst stakeholders would now be covered under the multi spectrum security architecture popularly known as the Deep Blue Project.
“There is absolutely no need for us to have private security in our maritime space. You are aware that this increases the cost of Shipping in our country. By the time the the Deep Blue Project becomes fully operational, the cost of shipping would drastically reduce”.
The NIMASA DG also pointed out that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the floating Dockyard should be operational by the end of July. A facility he said will employ hundreds of Nigerians directly and also earn huge amount in revenue for the country.
“We are finalizing arrangements with the NPA to get a permanent berth for the floating Dockyard and by the end of July this facility should be operational. The interesting thing is that aside earning a huge amount of revenue, it also has the capacity to employ over 300 Nigerian youths directly”.
The meeting is seen as a major step towards effective collaborations by both Agencies to enhance security in the Nigerian Maritime domain in order to achieve growth for the industry.
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Nigeria Begins Prosecution of Pirates Under New Law, Says NIMASA DG

*Guild Of Editors assures agency of full support
Nigeria will this week begin prosecution of suspected pirates under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said.
Jamoh said this was part of the efforts to ensure that the nation’s waterways were rid criminalities and reassure the global community that Nigeria is getting on top of the security issues in its maritime domain.
Speaking during an interaction with journalists in Lagos, Jamoh said the agency was mounting a spirited campaign to root out piracy and armed robbery in the country’s waters.
The suspects that will be tried were those arrested by the Nigerian Navy with intelligence support from NIMASA.
The trial of the suspects will be the first under the antipiracy law signed in June last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The law made Nigeria the first in West and Central Africa to have a standalone antipiracy legislation.
The DG said Nigeria’s waters were now safer for navigation, as the proactive approach of NIMASA to safety and security at sea had started yielding fruits.
This is evidenced in the multiple arrests of suspected pirates in the second quarter of the year, he said.
The Director-General revealed that NIMASA had sent a proposal to the Federal Government on the issue of providing incentives for stakeholders in the maritime sector.
He had also said that the Ministry of Transportation was also putting final touches to arrangements for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), he revealed, stressing that operators in the maritime industry would soon begin to access the fund.
He said fighting crime with intelligence and technology had been the hallmark of his administration in the battle against piracy since it came on board three months ago.
Members of the Fourth Estate, who were at the briefings, pledged their full support for the Agency’s efforts to get rid of the pernicious obstacles to safe and secure navigation in the country’s waters.
Jamoh, who launched a three-point agenda focused on Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, and Shipping Development, with the acronym 3s, on assumption of office, stated, “Collapsing our agenda into security, safety and shipping development has given us a bird’s-eye view of the challenges inherent in our sector. Our strategy of nipping piracy in the bud is yielding positive fruit and that is why the Navy and the Police have arrested a total of 27 suspected pirates in the last two months.”
He added, “Our findings have revealed that these criminals work with the cooperation of international allies and that is what makes them sophisticated. We have set out to tackle them through intelligence gathering and collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Our recent arrests have shown the international community that we are not handling illegalities in our waters with kid gloves.”
He expressed delight in the changing international opinion on safety and security in Nigerian waters, as seen in a recent congratulatory letter by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO} to Nigeria for its zeal to make the country’s waters safe and secure.
On the question of incentives for the maritime sector, Jamoh stated, “We have made proposals to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, for approval to grant different kinds of incentives that would help us grow the industry. We are also working to ensure the disbursement of the CVFF. We believe that other sectors, like manufacturing and aviation, have leveraged on this sort of incentive to grow and that is the reason we are also looking in that direction.”
Jamoh also spoke on the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), saying it is being redesigned to make it more effective.
He appealed to the media to ensure adequate and fair reportage of the activities of NIMASA, Nigeria’s maritime industry regulatory agency, in order to properly inform and educate the public. He said the sector had the potential to exponentially grow the Nigerian economy, given the enormous flora and fauna in the maritime environment, besides mineral resources and shipping activities.
Speaking during the engagements, President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mustapha Isah, said the media was willing to support NIMASA to achieve its mandate. Isah said the success of the Agency was vital to the whole country. He urged his colleagues to give more attention to maritime in their reports.
NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy have recently been getting commendations for their efforts to ensure security in the country’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.

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NIMASA Boss Unfolds Measures to Strengthen War Against Piracy

*Says floating dock to generate N1bn revenue monthly
*Sets October date for CVFF disbursement
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh Thursday restated the commitment of the agency in the war against piracy in Nigerian and the Gulf of Guinea.

Jamoh who spoke to newsmen in Lagos on his 100 days in office said his agency was even more strengthened now following the passage of the Anti-piracy Law, adding that this will help a lot in the fight against piracy.

He said that the agency will introduce a new approach of having working groups who will identify problems and proffer solutions.

Jamoh added that the agency has taken the issue of maritime security further by introducing guidelines and regulations which will fast-tract the judiciary to carry out quick dispensation of justice on offenders.
According to him, “We have sent good signals to the international communities and they understand that Nigeria is not sleeping, that the government of Nigeria is very serious in fighting this piracy.
“And then to those criminals, that they know we have trained 156 personnel from the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigeria Police Force, and the Attorney General of the Federation, whose responsibility it is to try these offenders.”
He disclosed that there will be a common purpose of the agency’s single window – C4i and that of the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy, NPA’s CEi maritime domain security platforms which will be targeted at having operational effectiveness for a common national objective..
He added, “We have a Regional Maritime Coordinating Centre here in Lagos, in our Resource Centre. This Centre takes care of nine countries in Africa. Where ever there is challenge of safety, this Centre will be available to respond to that, and we have four Centers.
“Our Resource Centre is working perfectly, we have imported the machineries, and all equipment are there. We have another at Takwa Bay – the equipment are already there, we are waiting for the experts to come from the UK to programme the equipment. Once we do that, we are finished with Lagos/ Western axis.
“In the Eastern and South-South part of the country, we have Bonny and Escravous. So, this one, we are importing the equipment from the UK. As soon as COVID-19 lockdown eases, we hope to bring the equipment and install. We are looking between September/October and we have our own Global Maritime Distress and Safety System(GMDSS) working perfectly. With these, there is no way with ship missing of having problem within our territorial water and outside.”
The DG also said that the floating dock which has been idle since last year which will soon be put into use, adding that it hopes to generate as much as N1bn monthly once take-off.
He disclosed that the agency was holding discussions with the Nigerian Ports Authority and a consultant to put the facility to use”.

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IMO Writes NIMASA DG, Expresses Delight over Nigeria’s Fight Against Piracy in Gulf of Guinea

By Francis Ugwoke
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has expressed delight in the measures adopted by Nigeria in the fight against piracy within the country’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea GoG).
The Secretary General of the organization, Mr. Kitack Lim, said this in a letter to the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
Lim said he was pleased by the update provided by Jamoh during a virtual meeting held since May 21 during which all the efforts taken by Nigeria to address maritime security threats in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea were presented.
Commending NIMASA DG for such leadership and proactive response, the IMO scribe also congratulated the Nigerian Navy on the “successful capture and arrest of pirates from the fishing trawler Hailufeng11, and more recently on the rescue of the crewmembers of the containership Tommi Ritsche”.
He said, “Those actions, together with all the other initiatives you highlighted in our meeting, including progress with the Deep Blue Project, send a strong and valuable message to the international community with respect to the considerable efforts your government is making to curb piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Guinea”.
Lim assured that he was ready to work with NIMASA for such important priority in the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Guinea.
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Piracy: Nigeria Hands Over Suspected Vessel, Crew to Ghana

*As NIMASA boss assures Gulf of Guinea no longer safe haven for pirates

The Nigerian Government has handed over the fishing vessel Marine 707 suspected to be carrying out illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea to the Ghanian authorities for further investigation and possible prosecution.

Nigeria also handed over 51 crew members including 48 Ghanians and 3 south Korea nationals to the Government of Ghana and Korea respectively.

The vessel which had authorization to fish in Ghana and Benin waters was arrested by the Nigerian Navy on the 18th of May, 2020 around the southwest of Lagos waters with her Automatic Identification System (AIS) switched off after being suspected to be used for piracy or being used as a mother ship to conduct piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was handed over to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) after preliminary investigations by the Navy.

In a statement by the Head of Corporate Communications of NIMASA, Mr Phillip Kyanet, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, while speaking during the official hand over of the Ghanian flagged vessel and the crew to the respective authorities, said that the Navy, NIMASA partnership which is now hinged on intelligence has put Nigeria on a pedestal of winning the war against piracy and other illegal acts at sea.

Jamoh who was represented by the agency’s commander, Maritime Guard Command Commodore Aniete Ibok disclosed that though preliminary investigations could not establish that the Vessel and her crew were directly linked to piracy, however the vessel still ran foul of international laws for shutting down its Automatic Identification System (AIS) 36 times in the last 6 months, 3 of which were done in the Nigerian waters.

According to him “we are handing over this vessel to the Ghanian authorities in the spirit of bilateral cooperation both countries enjoy. We have done our preliminary investigations and we are yet to establish any concrete evidence against the vessel but again, we would not know what she would be doing whenever she turns off her AIS which occurred 36 times without being logged in her record book in line with international protocols and three of these were in our domain. However in the spirit of brotherhood that Ghana and Nigeria enjoys we are handing over the vessel to Ghana for further investigations”

The NIMASA DG further warned that individuals or organizations thinking of perpetuating any form of illegalities in the Gulf of Guinea should be ready to face the full wrath of the law with the Antipiracy law in place along with the NAVY, NIMASA partnership that is waxing stronger with major focus on security in the Nigerian maritime domain and the entire Gulf of Guinea.

“we will not condone any act of illegalities in our maritime space, we have improved our intelligence sharing with relevant Agencies and with what we are doing now in no distant time piracy will be a thing of the past in the Gulf of Guinea because we have a robust antipiracy law that will deal with perpetrators of illegalities in our waters”

While receiving the vessel and the crew on behalf of the Ghana Maritime Authority, the Second Secretary Consular of Ghana in Nigeria, David Ako sowah commended the Nigerian authorities for being professional in handling the case. He said what Nigeria is doing is for the benefit of the entire countries in the Gulf Guinea.

In his words “As the big brother in this region, Nigeria has done well in showing a lot of maturity in handling this case and I want to assure you that Ghana would also look into more collaborations in Nigeria to ensure that the Gulf of Guinea remains safe for maritime activities”.

Equally speaking during the hand over, the Consular General of the Republic of Korea in Nigeria Kim Ln-taek, commended the party involved in handling the case. He said his findings from the Captain of the Ship who is a Korean informs that the AIS was bad. He noted that the vessel and her crew erred by not following the protocols of logging it in the record books when the AIS was down but he was happy that the case has been resolved up till this point.

The Ghana flagged vessel with International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) number 7419755 and registration number 316880 is owned and operated by World Marine Company Limited, Japan and as at the time of arrest it had 51 crew on board with all being Ghanians except 3 who are from the Republic of Korea.

This case also brings to the fore the efforts of NIMASA and NAVY in the battle against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. It would be recalled that the Navy recently arrested 10 pirates on a Chinese fishing vessel and handed them over for prosecution under the newly signed anti-piracy law.
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Pirates Board Two Ships, Kidnap Seafarers in Gulf of Guinea

WMN..Two new pirate attacks that resulted in the kidnapping of seafarers have been reported in the Gulf of Guinea. It appears that both incidents could be related.
On 9 May, around 0200hrs UTC, the cargo vessel Rio Mitong was approached by a single speedboat with an unknown number of perpetrators within the Malabo anchorage area, Equatorial Guinea, Dryad Global and Praesidium International said in separate statements.
The perpetrators used a ladder to board the Comoros-flagged multipurpose ship and managed to kidnap two of the vessel’s crew members, allegedly one Russian and one Ukrainian national.
The kidnappers left the area and proceeded towards Cameroon. The remaining crew members are understood to be safe.
The 8,900 dwt Rio Mitong is operated by Panama-based Glomar Supplies, VesselsValue’s data shows. The 122.4-metre-long MPP had arrived in Malabo from Abidjan last year in support of the Ounta Europa LNG project and since then remain within the anchorage area, occasionally reaching the berth.
“Based on available records, this would be the first piracy incident with successful kidnap ever recorded in the Malabo anchorage area,” according to Praesidium International.
Another vessel was attacked within the Luba anchorage on the same night. The ship in question is research/survey vessel Djibloho, managed by Equatorial Guinea Marina Malabo.
The Equatorial Guinea-flagged vessel Djibloho was boarded by a group of unknown men. Unconfirmed reports indicate that two Russian personnel may have been abducted as a result.
Local authorities have launched investigations into both incidents.
“As per available information, it appears that the Luba and Malabo incidents could be connected and originate from matters that have little to share with Gulf of Guinea piracy. As per Malabo, Luba port has seen no piracy activity over the years,” Praesidium International said.
“Deeper investigation shows that at least one of the two vessels has ties to Lithuanian businessman Vladimir Stefanov and some possible softer links have also emerged between the two vessels which could likely indicate that there is more to it that a mere piracy attack.”
“If confirmed this latest incident would bring the total number of persons kidnapped in maritime crime incidents throughout the region to 52,” Dryad Global noted.
“Whilst the trend of incidents within West Africa is showing a gradual decline, there is an upward trend in severity of incidents notably those involving kidnap for ransom.”…reports World Maritime News.

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Navy, NIMASA Set to Improve Information Sharing on Maritime Security

…C4i, falcon eye connection imminent

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigeria Navy are set for a regime of improved information sharing as arrangements to integrate the Command, Control, Computer Communication and Information Centre, otherwise known as the C4i Centre of the Deep Blue Project along with the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy are ongoing.

This was made known when the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Bamidele Daji led a team of senior officers from the command on a working visit to NIMASA.

The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, while stating the importance of cooperation between the Navy and NIMASA said that both agencies have mandates that are interwoven adding that since NIMASA is not an arm bearing organization it was important for it to support the Navy with necessary platforms for it to be able to optimally safeguard Nigerian Waters.

According to Jamoh, “Just like we did by ensuring that our Special Mission Vessels are manned by men of the Nigerian Navy, we are also looking at the possibility of effectively linking the C4i center at kikiriki with the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy. This is to ensure safety of lives and property for safer shipping in the Nigerian maritime domain so that the maritime industry remains virile for economic prosperity”

Dr. Jamoh according to a statement issue dby the Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Phillip Kyanet, also disclosed that the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, GMDSS, facility at Takwa Bay will become functional very soon and the facility will also enhance intelligence gathering and information sharing with the Nigerian Navy, which has also approved the establishment of a Naval formation at Takwa Bay.

Speaking on other challenges in the maritime corridor from Navy town to the Harbor in Apapa Lagos, the NIMASA DG noted that activities of unapproved ship scrapping yards are a source of concern and all identified wrecks will be removed working with the hydrography department of the Nigerian Navy.

The NIMASA DG also warned that those involved in these nefarious acts would be made to face the full wrath of the law if they fail to desist from indiscriminate scrapping of vessels and the likes.

“We are aware of the challenges wrecks, derelicts and activities of illegal scrap yards pose to our waterways. We will share information with the hydrography department of the Nigerian Navy, so appropriate steps which will be in the best interest of the country will be implemented”, he said.

On his part, the FOC Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Daji applauded the already existing relationship between the Agency and the Nigerian Navy and stated the need for continuous information sharing between the Navy and NIMASA in order to aid daily operations towards ensuring a safer and secured maritime sector.

He also corroborated the stance of the DG on zero tolerance for piracy on the nation’s waterways, stating that the Navy is prepared to tackle the issues head-on, for the overall good of the maritime sector.

Rear Admiral Daji appealed for cooperation with the NIMASA hydrography unit especially with regards to standard charting of the Nigerian waters as well as mapping out the wrecks. He said this would go a long way in ensuring unhindered navigation.

It may be recalled that at the inception of this administration, the DG, Dr. Jamoh and his Management team introduced a three point agenda hinged on Maritime Safety, Security and Shipping Development to achieve the mandates of NIMASA towards sustaining a robust maritime sector.

Present during the visit were the Executive Directors of the Agency and very senior officers of the Western Naval Command who accompanied the FOC, West on the visit.

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3 Ships Escape Pirate Attack off West Africa

World Maritime News.. Cargo ships transiting the waters off the coast of West Africa have reported at least three suspicious approaches over the past two days.
On Wednesday, a group of up to 8 men attacked the Greek-flagged bulk carrier MV Scarabe approximately 23 nautical miles south of Agbami, Nigeria.
The ship was coming from Calabar, Nigeria when it was approached. The master started altering course and engaging in evasive maneuvers.
However, shortly after the ship’s AIS was deactivated indicating the bulker was boarded, security alerts from different maritime consultancies indicate.
The ship’s AIS has reportedly turned on again after two hours and the bulker is said to be safe.
According to West Africa-based consultancy Praesidium International, a security vessel near the Agbami field is believed to have intervened to provide assistance, but the information remains unconfirmed.
On the same day, another ship reported being followed by an unidentified “craft” 110 nautical miles south-west of the Agbami Terminal.
The vessel has been identified as Liberia-flagged tanker Cap Diamant, which was being followed by a black-hulled speed boat sailing at around 20 knots. According to Praesidium International, the speedboat aborted the approach after a security vessel increased speed to close the gap.
The vessel and crew are reported to be safe.
“Following the attack earlier today (March 25) on the bulk carrier to the southeast of Agbami, it is possible that this is the same craft. The distance between the earlier attack and this sighting also fits.
“Vessels should exercise extreme caution in the area and maintain watches 24/7 for any small craft acting suspiciously in the area, and report in to authorities any sightings,” Dryad Global said.
This latest incident has occurred in an area of significant reporting density. Throughout 2019 there were 5 incidents recorded within 60nm of the Agbami Field Terminal compared with 0 incidents in 2018, Dryad’s data shows.
Earlier Thursday a vessel was approached to within 2 cable lengths by a skiff containing 4 – 5 persons. The incident occurred some 22 nautical miles South of Cotonou, according to Dryad’s information.
No further information about the attack was made available, reports World Maritime News.

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