DG, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
by Barnabas Esiet.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO}, the specialized shipping regulatory agency of the United Nations, has delivered a glowing appraisal of Nigeria’s effort to stem piracy in its waters and the Gulf of Guinea, commending the country for sending a “strong and valuable message” to the global community.
In a letter addressed to the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, by the Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, following recent arrests and first-time prosecution of suspected pirates under the country’s new antipiracy law, the agency commended him for his brave and dynamic approach to maritime security .
“I would also like to reiterate my congratulations to the Nigerian Navy on the successful capture and arrest of pirates from the fishing trawler Hailufeng II, and more recently on the rescue of the crewmembers of the containership Tommi Ritscher,” Lim stated in the letter.
The Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act was signed into law in June 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari. The law made Nigeria the first in West and Central Africa to have a distinct antipiracy legislation.
Lim said he was impressed by Nigeria’s efforts “to address maritime security threats in the region,” adding that Jamoh’s “leadership and proactive response” to maritime security issues were laudable.
“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 noted.
In an earlier virtual meeting following the arrest of some pirates by the Nigerian Navy, in partnership with NIMASA, Jamoh told the IMO Secretary-General that piracy in the region was being sustained by powerful foreign collaboration while appealing for support from the international community to complement the steps being taken by Nigeria towards ridding the country’s waters of maritime crimes.
The NIMASA boss had during the virtual meeting bemoaned the adverse effect of foreign collaboration on Nigeria’s anti piracy effort. “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.” He said.