THE Nigerian Government and Industry Joint Working Group, NIWG, has said that it has made considerable progress to deepen collaboration between agencies and the navy in the maritime industry. It says it has built operational response capabilities, develop more robust reporting frameworks and share best practices between government and the industry.
NIWG in a statement signed by Philip Kyanet, head, corporate communications, NIMASA, noted that the progress made to date demonstrates enthusiasm to tackle the problem in the sector despite considerable challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now that the foundations for more collaborative working are in place, there is considerable momentum behind the NIWG’s efforts to reduce maritime security incidents in the region.
“At a regulatory level, NIMASA is now working directly with the International Maritime Organization, IMO, in developing a National Maritime Security Strategy, Nigeria has formally endorsed industry’s Best Management Practices West Africa (BMP WA) guidance and, following the entry into force of, Nigeria’s Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019 (SPOMO Act), prosecutions are underway.
“The NIWG industry partners have been working with NIMASA to finalise a new Nigerian National Maritime Reporting Framework, which will support merchant vessels in distress, and NIMASA’s Command, Control, Computer Communication and Information (C4i) Centre has been identified as a national focal point for coordinating the multi-agency response. These developments are a significant step forward in improving Nigeria’s response capabilities and potentially enhancing security for vessels operating in Nigerian Waters. The NIWG recognises the role of the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade -GoG (MDAT-GOG) as the single point of communication for merchant ships and is pleased to inform that cooperation between the IMB, MDAT-GoG and NIMASA’s C4I Centre is progressing well.
“There has also been a welcome escalation in the Nigerian Navy’s maritime security response activities. Conduct of two military exercises (Operation Calm Water and Operation Sanga Sung) by NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy in recent months have been successful in testing and demonstrating response capabilities. Importantly, considerable progress has also been made to advance the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure project, otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project, DBP, which aims to comprehensively address insecurity and criminality in Nigeria’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone.
“While COVID-19 has caused disruptions to this landmark project, delayed training required deploying DBP assets Q4 2020/Q1 2021 has recommenced. It is agreed by the NIWG that progressing the DBP is a key priority, which will require continued support by industry and sustained resource from the Nigerian government.
“While this positive progress speaks to the benefits of leveraging the collective strength and capabilities of both government and industry in striving toward a shared goal, the reality is that the risk of maritime security incidents in Nigerian waters remains high and is likely to increase in the coming months now that the monsoon season has ended,” it said.
The statement noted that NIWG recognises that there is a considerable way to go, and therefore it is essential that momentum is maintained in implementing maritime security programmes and initiatives to effect real and lasting change and secure the waters blighted by maritime crime.
– Oct. 8, 2020 @ 18:05 GMT |