By Godfrey Bivbere
In a bid to ensure security on the nation’s waterways, a US-based firm has commenced talks with the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) for partnership in achieving secured maritime environment.
The meeting, which is as a result of incessant attacks on local and foreign ships plying the nation’s waterways, was at the instance of the US Consulate-General in Lagos.
Captain Jeffery Kuhlman, Principal of the Castle Shipboard Security Programme based in Florida, USA, disclosed that his company has developed training programmes that can help countries like Nigeria address key security challenges confronting ships plying its waters.
Kuhlman noted that the programme is based on his sea-going experience as a Ship Master over the years and this compelled his organisation to develop it.
Noting that the security challenges facing Nigeria are different from that confronting Somalia, the maritime security expert pointed out that the Nigerian case requires a different approach. He said that his company has developed a specific programme that can help tame the insecurity menace in Nigeria.
The programme, according to the Ship Master who was accompanied by his wife, Glenna and officials of the US Embassy, will help address problems of piracy, terrorism and civil threats.
Chairman of the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief (Dr.) Isaac Jolapamo, who received the American delegation at ISAN Secretariat in Apapa, said that while the nation requires improved security on its waters, the ship owners will have to work with the nation’s flag administration to achieve desired outcomes.
He said that while government agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives and property on Nigerian waters have been striving hard daily to achieve their purpose, a lot more needs to be done to protect ships and crew against piracy and armed robbery attacks at sea.
He said ISAN members continually train and retrain their staff to ensure that they are adequately prepared to face security challenges while at sea and in line with the International Ships & Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code.