THE Federal Government through theÂ Nigerian Maritime AdministrationÂ and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has opposed the verdict of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) which rated Nigeria as the second most pirate-prone country in the world.
Opposing IMBâ€™s rating last weekend, NIMASAâ€™s Director-General,Â MrÂ Temisan Omatseye said that what is happening in Nigeria is not pirate attacks but attacks by armed robbers, adding that most of these attacks are instigated by foreign fishing trawlers who do not want Nigerians in the fish trawling business.
Omatseye noted that what the IMBÂ Â defined as piracy is not what is happening on Nigeriaâ€™s waters addingÂ that many of these attacks are false alarm.
He was of the opinion that most of these false alarms are recorded as pirate attacks by IMB and that the government is trying to correct the perception of such attacks in Nigeria. He also noted that what is happening in Nigeria is nothing compared to what is happening in Somalia.
His words: â€œI was in a conference in Dubai and they rated us as the second most pirate-prone country in the world and I made them realise that their definition of piracy is wrong because what they defined as piracy is not what is happening in Nigeria.
â€œWhat we are experiencing on Nigerian waters is only pure little arms attacks, there is nothing like piracy in Nigeria.In the conference in Dubai, we listed out what IMO defined as piracy, what IMB defined as piracy and none of them fall into the definition of what they claimed to be piracyÂ in Nigeria, there is no piracy in Nigeria.
â€œWhat we have is armed attacks and many of these attacks are false alarm, a captain will see a speed boat coming his direction and he will shout and IMB records it as pirate attack. As far we are concerned, that is not correct.
â€œSo we are trying to correct the perception that what is happening on Nigerian waters is not piracy but simple armed robbery or little attacks which do not fall under the definition of pirate attack.
â€œIf you want to know whatÂ pirate attack is, go and see what is happening in Somalia, you cannot compare what is happening in Nigeria to what is going on in Somalia.
â€œWhat is happening in Nigeria is the issue of pure illegal fishing trawling businessÂ on Nigerian waters actually attacking Nigerian vessels to keep them away from fishing, it is a pure intention of these illegal fishers to scare our Nigerian fishermen away.â€