The Value News

Maritime: Gulf Of Guinea No Longer A Safe Haven For Piracy Activities -Jamoh

Stephen Ubanna

In spite of the fact that Dakuku Peterside, a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency had been replaced by President Muhammadu Buhari, with Bashir Jamoh, the agency, former Executive  Director, Finance  and Administration,  the robust working  relationship which he had established with the Nigerian Navy before his exit last March,  appear to be yielding result.

This is evident going  by the  arrest of a Ghanaian  fishing vessel,  marine 707, at the  Gulf of  Guinea  by the Nigerian Naval personnel on Patrol  on  May 18, 2020. The Ghana flagged fishing vessel , with the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, a united Nations, UN,  maritime agency,  Number,7419755 and registration Number 316880,  was said to be  owned and operated   by World  Marine  Company  Limited, Japan, as at the time of the arrest by the  Navy.

Jamoh: DG, NIMASA

   The Value News learnt that the Ghanaian fishing vessel had authorization to fish in Ghana and Benin, the two West  African  countries  waters, but had been sighted  by the Naval  personnel on Patrol on Nigerian  waters suspected to be carrying out illegal activities.  The Naval Patrol Team may have been given the ammunition to go  after  the  vessel  when  it could not be contacted   with its Automatic  Identification System, AIS, believed to have been switched off.  

The Naval Patrol Team, were said to have succeeded in arresting  the Ghanaian  fishing vessel  which had 51 Crew members on board  comprising of 48 Ghanaians and  three of the Asia country of Korea Nationals.  The vessel was  said to  have  been  arrested  around  the  southwest Lagos waters. The arrest of the Ghanaian  fishing  vessel  was said  to have  sent a signal  to other fishing vessels from other countries  that might want to go beyond  their approved  countries  of fishing activities  to enter into  the Nigerian waters or the  Gulf of Guinea as the Nigerian Naval personnel are waiting for them.

Maritime watchers  disclosed  that the  Ghanaian fishing vessel   was  found around the southwest of Lagos waters  which facilitated its arrest with ease. This may have informed why Jamoh, the NIMASA , Director General, had warned that ‘’individuals  or Organisations  thinking of perpetuating  any form of  illegalities  in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea should be ready to face  the Consequence   with  the antipiracy  Law in place’’, noting that’’ the partnership between the Navy and the Maritime Regulatory agency ’is waxing  stronger daily  with major focus on security in the nation’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea’’.

 Indeed, given the modern equipment that had been acquired by the agency  under the previous Management  headed by  Peterside, which had improved its Surveillance operations,  the NIMASA boss  had made it clear to those that cares to listen  that the agency  ‘’will not  condone any of  illegalities in the country maritime space’’.

He has every reason to beat his chest that  the game is up for pirates  operating in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea. ’’We have improved our intelligence gathering  and  sharing with relevant   government agencies, particular, the Navy’’ he, had said.   He noted that  ‘’in  no distant time,  piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea will be a thing of the past’’.

While  the  Navy had repeatedly  arrested suspected vessels sighted  in the country’s maritime space, over alleged illegal activities, the assignment could only be said to have been c completed when the arrested vessels   are  handed over to the NIMASA,  Authorities. This  may have informed why the Naval Authorities handed over  the arrested Ghanaian  flagged  fishing vessel and the Crew on board the vessel  to  NIMASA.

Ln- taekCommodore Ibok, And Owah

Aniete Ibok, a Naval Cmmodore  and the agency Commander ,  Maritime Guard Command,  who was said to have taken delivery of the arrested Ghanaian  fishing vessel and  the Crew, at the instance of Jamoh, the NIMASA , helmsman, disclosed  that partnership between the Navy and NIMASA, which is hinged on intelligence has put the  country  on’’ the pedestal  of winning  the war  against piracy  and other illegal activities in Nigerian waters’’.

The Naval Commodore may have shocked may when he revealed that ‘’ preliminary investigations,  has not  established  that the vessel  and her Crew  were directly  linked to piracy’’, an  indication  that associating it with pirates activities in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea was wrong.

Perhaps, the only  reason, that may have encouraged  the Navy to have  arrested and  detained  her before finally  taking the bold initiative  to handover to the Jamoh led  Maritime Regulatory agency was for violating the IMO, Law s for shutting down its AIS, 36 times in the last six months, three of which were said to have been done in Nigerian waters.   

The NIMASA , Authorities, in turn were said to have handed over the Ghanaian flagged fishing vessel  to the Ghanaian Maritime Administration, which  Jamoh, the agency  said was done ‘’in the spirit of the bilateral  cooperation between Nigeria and Ghana’’.   

David Ako Owah, Second Secretary  Consular of Ghana in Nigeria, who has the mandate of the Director General, Ghana Maritime Administration to take delivery of the released  Ghana flagged vessel which had been in the custody of the Nigerian Navy, Western Naval Command, for days, commended the Nigerian Authorities  for being ‘’Professional in handling the case’’. Owah, the Ghana  Second  Secretary  Consular  had described ‘’what Nigeria had done to be in  the benefit of the entire countries in the Gulf of Guinea

Kim Ln-taek,  the Consular General of the Republic of Korea disclosed that his findings from the Captain of the ship  who is a Korean National  shows that the AIS was bad but not a deliberate action to shut it dowm. The Korean Consular General, who could not hide his  feelings  asserted  that  the vessel Crew erred by not following the Protocols of not logging in the record books when the AIS  was down. His happiness was that the  case has been ‘’resolved up to this point’’ of handing over the vessel and the Crew to their respective countries Consular Generals without any problem.

Only recently  the Nigeria Navy  arrested  10 pirates  on a Chinese fishing vessel  in the Gulf of Guinea  who were said to have been  handed over to the NIMASA Authorities   for Prosecution under the  current   anti-piracy Law.  

Stephen Ubanna

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