The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime And Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside has said that beyond ensuring maritime safety, the agency looks forward to seeing more Nigerians participate in the shipping industry.
Dr Dakuku stated that the emphasis is on the building of all necessary capacities and capabilities in terms of infrastructure, human capacity and the safety of the waterways.
Speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the Global Maritime Conference the NIMASA boss said the importance of unveiling the conference in Abuja is because “we want to our waterways safe and secure for everyone to do business”
Strategies for tackling maritime insecurity
In line with the theme of the three day conference which is “Managing and Securing our Waterways” Dr Dakuku said : “We have laid out our plans. It is called the Total Spectrum Maritime Security Strategy and we are beginning to operationalize the plan”.
“The first is that we have passed the anti-piracy law as a legal framework to tackle the insecurity challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.”
“The second is that we have institutionaized the deep blue project which has four dimensions. Dimension number one is to invest in enhanced domain awareness assets”
“Dimension number two is the acquisition of air, land and sea assets to enhance our response capabilities.”
Dimension number three is to build the capacity of our armed forces. To train them to tackle maritime crime. Dimension number four is to promote the need for regional collaborations and operations.”
Dr Dakuku said the Abuja conference typifies the commitment of stakeholders towards building global and regional collaborations for tackling maritime crime.
Inter agency collaboration
The DG of NIMASA said they are working with other partners to ensure that the institutions created by the African Union and other regional blocks are made to function optimal.
“We are building a lot of Inter-agency collaborations so that all actors in Nigeria can be on the same page in tackling maritime insecurity and I think we are making a lot of progress”, he said.
He said NIMASA looks forward to a maritime sector that contributes more to GDP, hence the need to synergize with other agencies of government.
“Of course you know that we are synergising with Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board in many dimensions”
“We are also working with the CBN to bring down the cost of accessing funds for maritime projects and building of maritime infrastructure.”
We are working under the guidance of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to develop a long term vision for the maritime sector in Nigeria.”
“We have joint responsibility with Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) under the cabbotage Act, but beyond the joint responsibility of enforcing the Cabotage law, we have also entered into a Memorandom of Understanding.”
He said NIMASA and NCDMB collaborates to achieve a common classification of vessels, long term projection of human capacity needed in the industry so as to be able to invest appropriately in building of needed skills.
According to Dakuku, NIMASA is also working with NCDMB for a five year forecast of the kind of vessels that would be needed in the industry to help local players build capacity.
He said the agency is also collaborating to help local access funds and become more competitive in the industry.
The Global Maritime Security Conference which is currently ongoing Abuja has attracted participants from over 70 countries as stakeholders brainstorm to find ways ensuring the safety of the waterways, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.