The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Administration Agency (NIMASA) said no attack has been carried out by pirates on the nation’s territorial waters since March this year.
Director General of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, said this Thursday at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.
“From the first quarter of this year to date, we have not recorded a single accident or incident on our territorial waters in terms of piracy attack. From the last quarter of 2021 till date, it’s over a year now, no single attack.
“This has led to the cancellation of the stigma placed on Nigeria as the most dangerous water in the world and the country was removed from the piracy list for the first time in March 2022,” he said.
He said the feat was achieved through the sustained effort of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
He said the policies and programme of the federal government on maritime safety and administration generate support for Nigeria from the International Maritime Organization.
“With this, Nigeria continues to receive support from the international community. What we did was to establish what we call Joint Industry Working Group; to open up our system to the international community and we told them that Nigeria is not the only country where there is insecurity or piracy but they always point on Nigeria only.
“Through that group, all stakeholders in our own industry now meet every month to discuss the progress of maritime insecurity in Nigeria and the entire Gulf of Guinea, under that agreement, we now signed an agreement between NIMASA, Nigerian Navy and the International Coordinating Centre at Yaounde, Cameroun, so that we can address issues that have to do with maritime security, so by extension, in the entire Gulf of Guinea, we have not had piracy attack since March,” he said.
He said through the Deep Blue Project, there are ground and air patrols around the country’s water ways to ensure safety of ships and lives on board.
“The regime introduced the Deep Blue Project where we had to buy a number of various platforms. The President of Nigeria inaugurated the platform of the project, which has made Nigeria proud and many nations are coming to see how we manage our maritime security.
“We have two special mission vessels, which have the capacity of dynamic positioning. We can keep them at the high sea for a number of days, we also have three special mission helicopters, 16 armoured vehicles specifically meant for creeks.
“They have special features and can enter into the creeks and search for criminals. We also have two special mission aircrafts with 24 hour special cameras which they use to film any place or environment and send the signals immediately,” he said.
He NIMASA has embarked on the removal of wrecks and maritime litters to ensure the safety of the country’s waterways, stressing that the agency is also collaborating with the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
“We have now introduced what we call the marine litter and plastic action plan, through which we remove wastes like empty water bottles and sachets of water which are harmful to aquatic lives. We sent the plan to the international Maritime Organization, they approved and we are now implementing it.
“The second thing is, we now try to improve marine environment management in order to ensure that the environment is safer. Any oil company found wanting will be forced to pay for such damages. We also collaborate with NIMET to have weather forecasts for our own maritime domain in order to ensure the safety of navigation in our waters,” he said.
He said NIMASA has so far enjoyed support from Japan and Korea Republic, stressing that Japan has assisted the agency with $2.7 million for the building of ships while Korea donated a warship to boost the capacity of the agency in fighting pirates.