Nigerian Shipowners Bemoan Declining Security Along Waterways

Capt Dada Olaniyi Labinjo

THE  President of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Capt. Niyi Labinjo, has commended  efforts of the Nigeria Navy at securing the nation’s territorial waters from illegalities.

Labinjo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the Nigerian Navy was doing its best to secure the Nigerian waters from bunkering and piracy but needed to do more.

“There is still piracy on our waters and the Nigerian Navy is really trying their best to ensure the water safe from illegality.

“We still have a lot of foreign vessels that are still breaching our Cabotage Act which the Navy should also look into,” he said.

Labinjo appealed to the Federal Government to avail the Navy of the equipment and funds for them to perform effectively.

Also speaking with NAN, Mrs. Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi, noted that the Navy was doing what they should do in securing the waters with the resources available to them.

She said the government should give them a better platform to perform more effectively than what they have done in the past.

“The officers of the Nigerian Navy are well trained and they have and are still showing their capability to protect our territorial waters.

‘The government should give them what is needed to improve on their services,” she said.

She also advised the Navy to make sure they continued to keep the waters safe from terrestrial attacks.

Onyema-Orakwusi urged the government to adequately fund and train naval personnel at all times with the objective to equip them to perform their functions proficiently.

“There should be proper training for them and there should be a relationship between them and the Navy of other countries in the region so that there will be effective communication among them,” she said.

A Maritime expert, Otunba Kunle Folarin, has also  urged countries within the Gulf of Guinea to collaborate in the fight against piracy and other sea robberies.

Folarin made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He, however, explained that security of the maritime domain was a very expensive undertaking.

“I believe that if government is going to police the entire Nigerian exclusive economic zone, is going to be an effort it has to do in conjunction with other countries in the region.

“While one country is kind of disturbed by other attention that has to be given, then the other one can fill in.

“Particularly that Ghana is drilling off-shore, Nigeria is moving toward off-shore and that poses a very potential danger that we must start to look at now.

“That is the kind of summary we can give about what has been reported and what has been addressed; who is addressing, who is dealing with it, so that we can have a very good result.”

Folarin commended the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for ensuring a secured maritime domain.

He said that the security of the nation’s maritime domain required standard weapons meant for such operation.

“Basically, what I think is how do we combat this menace?

“NIMASA is doing a lot to address it. Nigerian Navy is also doing a lot to address it, but then is a very expensive undertaking.

“If you want to go and police 200 nautical miles, you need ships that are built for warfare, ships built for search and rescue and such endeavour needs a lot of money,” he said.

Folarin said that efforts were being intensified to combat sea robberies, which had assumed international dimension.—Maritime Hub