By Stephen Ubanna

The fight against sea pirates who interrupt ocean going vessels within Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea appears to have taken an international dimension as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency involves Interpol to it.

 The Agency which is  the arrowhead in the fight against sea pirates in the country  has finally entered into a working agreement with INTERPOL, to forestall the activities of the pirates in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.

Peter Presenting Plague to Noha Amer

Over the years the activities of the sea pirates had become a national embarrassment that NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy , were forced to step up policing of the country’s water ways to forestall the activities of the pirate troubling ocean going vessels.

Recall, that only recently, six sailors  of the Apacus , a Palau -flagged Petroleum  Products Tanker of 3,000 deadweight tonnes, DWT,  anchored off Bonny Island  , Rivers state , was  abducted  by pirates , described as Nigerians. 

Note that the country’s Maritime Regulatory agency may have known that it  could  no longer champion the fight against the pirates alone because of the involvement of  foreigners in the international crime.  The  agency over the years  has been working closely  with the Nigerian Navy   to crush the activities of the pirates within the country water ways which extended to the Gulf of Guinea.

Peterside and INTERPOL Officials

Many believe that the involvement of the INTERPOL in the on-going war against the sea pirates within Nigeria waters would reduce the attack on ocean-going vessels as the  sea pirates could easily be smoked out in  their hideout in any part of the world with the expertise of the Interpol  officials who are not new in fishing out such criminals.

Dakuku Peterside, Director General, NIMASA, who could not hide his feelings when he had a closed door partnership meeting  with the  INTERPOL , Representatives in Lagos is optimistic that the end of the road has come for the pirates. Giving his appreciation to  Noha Amer, the senior Project Manager, Global Outreach and Region Support of INTERPOL, who led the team, the NIMASA boss had presented a plague to him.

Amer was said to have expressed  appreciation to  Peterside, the NIMASA, helmsman and his management team for the gesture, promising to assist the agency in curtailing the crime in Nigeria waterways and the Gulf of Guinea. The event was said to have been witnessed by  Sylvester Uzoefuna, Jr, and Assistant Commissioner of Police, and Nigerian  INTERPOL official.  

The involvement of Interpol and its Global Outreach   and Region Support  , may have sent  a signal to the sea pirates operating in  Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea that  it is no longer going to be business as usual. Maritime watchers believe that  they now have to contend  with the Navy, NIMASA Surveillance and Rescue personnel and  the Global Outreach  and Region Support for the INTERPOL,  patrol teams which would be tough battle.

Prior to the engagement of the ITERPOL, in the war against the sea pirates , operating  in Nigeria waters and the Gulf of Guinea, Peterside led NIMASA Management   had moved to acquire  ”fast  intervention  vessels, maritime helicopter and another special  mission aircraft to address  the problem. An official of Shell Petroleum Development Company , SPDC, who spoke to The Value News described the effors being made by the Rivers state born NIMASA BOSS , to make Nigeria water ways safe for Oil tankers and Merchant vessels a s welcome development, stressing that it would increase the number of Oil Tankers calling at the nation’s Oil terminals at the Niger Delta to lift cargo to the International Oil market without fear or intimidation of pirates.

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