Maritime: EU, Gives Kudos to Nigeria For Winning The Anti-piracy War

 By Stephen Ubanna

 Until the appointment of Bashir Jamoh, a career staff of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, as the Director General of the agency on March 10, 2020, the situation in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea was very worrisome due to the frequent attack on ocean going vessels laden with cargoes by Pirates.  The situation was so bad as  the Baltic and International Maritime Council, BIMCO, took a decision to approve  a new standard contract  for security  Escort  vessels, SEVs, to the region.BIMCO is a Commercial shipping trade  Organisation based in Copenhagen, with membership  of over 60% of the world’s  leading shipping Lines in it fold.  

the underwriting firms may have taken advantage of the high risk in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea to insist  on a very high premium  to be paid  by shippers conveying cargoes to Nigeria. War Risk Insurance is a type of Insurance, which according Maritime analyst covers damage due to acts of war, including invasion, insurrection, rebellion and hijacking of vessels.

Jamoh, and his Management Team, may have known that they have big challenge at hand to clip the wing of the Pirates to give a breather to the shipping Companies and their Crew members conveying Nigerian-bound cargoes. This may have given birth to the NIMASA Joint Industry Working Group, which according to informed sources meet monthly.  The monthly Forum with the critical stakeholders such as BIMCO, Inter cargo among others may have provided a sounding board for shaping the policies of the agency  that may have had a positive impact on the nation’s maritime security  over the last two years.

Another major milestone in addressing the Piracy activities in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea region, The Value News, finding shows  was the inauguration of the  of the Inter0regional Coordination Centre based in Yaounde, capital of Cameroun and the Nigerian Navy/NIMASA, known in maritime circles as  GoG-SHADE.  The Jamoh led NIMASA Management was said to also gone a step further in harmonizing the surveillance between the agency c4i, NPA, Nigeria Navy Falcon Eye and the Nigerian Police.

The International Maritime Bureau, IMB, may have recognised that Nigeria is winning the war against Piracy in the nation’s wters and the GoG, when it released its 2021 Piracy attacks on ocean going vessels in the region showing that that it had dropped by 58% from 81 incidents in 2020 to 34 in 2021. The IMB, report also shows that the number of Crew kidnapping incidents in the region had reduced to 57 57 in 2021 from the 150 recorded in 2020.

Ahmed: ED, Operations And EU, Visitors, led By Amb. Martinez, In NIMASA, Office Complex, At Apapa

The European Union, EU, appear to have also recognised the efforts of NIMASA, over the last two years in containing the activities of the Pirates operating in Nigerian waters and the GoG.    Ambasador Nichola Martinez, Senior Coordinator   for the regional Economic bloc, recent comments on the activities of Pirates in Nigerian waters and the GoG, speaks volume. The EU, Coordinator for the GoG, had commended the Nigerian government for providing Leaership in the GoG,  in the war againt Piracy  and  

other Criminal  activities, in Nigeria waters and he GoG.

He may have gladdened the heat of Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General, when he disclosed that ‘’the EU,  would continue to support Nigeria’s Leadership  in the regional quest to end piracy activities and other maritime crimes. ‘’You can count on the EU, as we are fully supportive of the Yaounde Infrastructure’’.  Appealing to the Nigerian government to share its experience in the anti-piracy war in the region with other countries in the region, he noted that it is the only to ending the anti-piracy war in the region’’.

 Martinez, the EU, Coordinator for the GoG, and his Team members from selected EU member states may have taken advantage of the recent working visit to inspect the NIMASA maritime Assets under the Deep Blue Project at the Nigerian Navy Diving School, Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nervecentre .  They were said to have witness

The EU T eam Had watched an organised drill put on by the Nigerian Navy showcasing some of the  maritime security Assets in action. Impressed with what he saw on ground may have encouraged him to his words that ‘’the EU, remains a committed partner to the GoG’’ and would continue to provide extensive and targeted assistance  to strengthen the critical features of the Yaounde  security architecture. He was said to also alluded’’ to the long standing relationship between the EU and the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, member states.

In apparent response to Ambassador Martine remarks during the  recent working visit to NIMASA, Jamoh,  noted that recent ‘’removal  of Nigeria from the piracy list  by the IMB, was as a result of  ‘’the Collective efforts  of the various Industry stakeholders within and outside the country’’.       

An elated Jamoh, had attributed the success in winning the anti-piracy war in Nigerian waters and the GoG, to the deployment of the $195 million, Integrated National Security and Waterways Infrastructure, popular, Deep Blue Sea project Maritime Security assets in February 2021 for Operations. 

The maritime security assets that was said to have been supplied   by the Israeli  Security firm,  HLSI, Security Systems and Technologies Limited  for the Deep Blue Project  include 17 Interception Boars,  17 Armoured Vehicles for Coastal Patrol,  Two Special Mission Vessels, Two Special Mission aircrafts  for surveillance of Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ and three unmanned Aerial vehicles.

The NIMASA Director General may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he disclosed that the agency have continued experience ‘’decline in piracy in Nigerian waters and the GoG on a monthly basis’’ in the recent time.

Ther is no gain saying the fact that since the Jamoh led agency intensified the anti-piracy war in Nigerian waters and the GoG, Collaboration with other security agencies, particular, the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force,Army and the Usman Baba Ali, led Nigerian Police Force, NPF, millions of dollar which could have been paid as ransom  to pirates and sea robbers to facilitate release of arrested Crew members and hijacked vessels. It is not surprising why the agency anti-piracy efforts have been recgnised world- wide.

 Recall that the President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, had said in 2021, that  that the country loses $26.3 million  annually on piracy and sea robbery  while performing  the inauguration  of the Falcon Eye Project, Vice Admiral Auwal Zubairu Gambo, led Nigerian Navy’s  Strategic Maritime  Surveillance System in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT . 

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