By Godfrey Bivbere
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, has called on the International Maritime Bureau, IMB to ensure fairness and balance in its reportage of piracy issues on nation’s territorial waters.
Dakuku expressed displeasure in exaggerated reports on incidences on the country’s waterways by the IMB.
IMB is a specialised department of the International Chamber of Commerce, ICC dedicated to fighting maritime crime and malpractice.
The NIMASA helmsman made the assertions on Tuesday in Lagos, when a delegation of the International Maritime Security Operations Team (IMSOT) from the United Kingdom paid a working visit to the Agency.
He bemoaned the distortion of facts in the coverage of Nigeria by the Bureau, saying such distortions can do reputational damage to the country within the international community.
In a statement signed by Head, Corporate Communications, Isichei Osamgbi, noted that the NIMASA boss observed that even the slightest crimes in the creeks and habours of Nigeria were often reported as piracy by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.
He listed some measures being embarked upon by NIMASA to curb piracy to include investing in the satellite surveillance system, which has the capacity to view all vessels on the country’s waterways; supporting the security agencies to acquire assets that will enable them fight piracy and other maritime crimes; and proposing an anti-piracy bill that will give the Agency the authority to prosecute maritime related crimes, when it becomes law, among others.
In his own remarks, the IMSOT team leader, Leigh Smith, commended NIMASA for its efforts to maintain security on the country’s territorial waters and high sea. He urged continuous collaboration in the areas of technology and information sharing. “We will work together with NIMASA and also share knowledge together; all with the intent of ensuring security in the global maritime space,” he said.
A major highlight of the visit was the inauguration of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code Implementation Committee (ICIC) by the DG. He asked the committee to ensure there was a remarkable difference in the next one year through their actions, the rules and regulation set, and collaboration with other stakeholders.
“I trust that you will give your best to this assignment; it is about the reputation of our country, our sector, our ports, the shipping companies, those who do business with us and our stand in the face of the international community,” he said.