Piracy: NIMASA resuscitates regional search and rescue committee

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside has revealed that his administration resuscitated meetings of the Regional Search and Rescue Committee after years of no meetings in the sub-region on tackling piracy activities in the West African sub region.

The Regional Search and Rescue Committee is made up of  nine member countries under the Nigerian SAR Region, namely: Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, D.R. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe and Togo.

According to Peterside, while delivering a speech during a recent World Press Conference in Lagos, “They never met to discuss modalities of collaboration for almost a decade. However, since this new management came on board, the agency has successfully hosted two sub-regional technical committee meetings to build a formidable regional network.

“The regional network has increased our level of alertness, thus improving our capacity to respond to distress calls, which has ultimately led to a considerable reduction in the cases of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Our quest to achieve a safer maritime domain has seen us working on an Anti-Piracy Bill.

“We have received the president’s backing to acquire assets that will be deployed at strategic locations, thus enhancing our ability to improve the safety of vessels within our maritime domain.

Having realised the need to enhance the safety of boat users in Nigeria, we have secured the approval of the Honourable Minister of Transportation to increase the number of Search and Rescue Marshalls from 100 to 1000.”

On the forthcoming hosting of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) in Abuja, the NIMASA DG explained that, “The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency in conjunction with the International Maritime Organization, IMO, is organising the third conference of the Association of African Maritime Administrations. This is in line with IMO policy in assisting and enhancing the capacity of Maritime Administrations in Africa in the adherence and implementation of IMO instruments

“Against the backdrop of the key resolutions and decision of the second Heads of African Maritime Administration Conference held in Sandton, South Africa in October 2013, was the convening of a third AAMA Conference in 2014. The designated host, Nigeria, at the time, was unable to host the 3rd conference in 2014. We reactivated the hosting rights and 19th to 21st of April 2017 was set as the date for the third conference scheduled to hold at the Transcorp Hilton hotel, Abuja, Nigeria.

“This crucial third AAMA Conferences is set to draw a roadmap for the future sustainable work plans of the Association. The theme of the Conference is: “Sustainable Use of Africa’s Oceans and Seas.”

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