Maritime Report

March 13, 2019

‘Deployment of drones’ cheaper solution to piracy in Nigeria’

‘Deployment of drones’ cheaper solution to piracy in Nigeria’

Delivery drones

… Supports the establishment of holistic security architecture

By Godfrey Bivbere

A retired Navy Captain, George Alaily has called for the use of dockable drones as a cheap way of policing the nation’s waterways and tackling the problem of piracy be-devilling the country.

Delivery by drones…could this be regulated in the near future?

Speaking at a strategic group meeting organised by the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping in Lagos with the theme “Maximising The Economics of The Eastern Ports,” Alaily said the drones which can be operated without manpower and economic involvement attached for the usual vessel patrol.

The retired Navy Captain further explained that dunkable drone has the capacity to hover around for over six hours sending images back to the control room.

He noted that the drones can also return to base once it is running low on power to recharge before going back on patrol. He also supported the establishment of a holistic security architecture that will include all government agencies, the littoral states and other critical stakeholders in the maritime sector.

According to him, “Today we can always employ technology. There is what they call talkable drones today, of course, you have drones that have time on task for over six hours and when they hover and when the time is almost up, they go back automatically to do and duck and then recharge and another one takes off so you can have drones overseeing those areas without sending in the usual patrol boats to the Marine Protected Area, MPAs. The drones can do that.

So this dockable drones can do that and as Admiral Dele Ezeoba said, we have legal institutional issues and that is where we have waivers, tariffs and the rest to encourage shippers and the rest to come in there.

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I think looking at it from the strategic point of view is that there is a need to establish a security architecture that is holistic like the United Kingdom, UK Distributed Maritime Operations, DMO. Those of you who are familiar with the multinational task force in the golf of Ede and out there know that it has to be holistic.

If the states are not taken in as partners we will have a problem so in anything we do we must bring in the littoral States, bring in Bayelsa state into this equation as a member,  bring in Lagos State, bring in Delta State, bring in Cross River State as key stakeholders and when you sit on the table about the problems in the littoral area they understand their people; they understand the issues and they will provide solutions to the problem of insecurity. In doing that it must be a Public Private, PP initiative with the Nigerian Navy as the lead agency.

The Nigerian Navy has to be there and operationally we have to establish a fusion centre and the Nigerian Navy must have control rooms. We need a fusion centre and the two speakers have spoken about the fact that for all stakeholders where everybody is together reporting come in and then we gather the necessary assets to go and investigate. I am saying this from my experience in an IOC, while they have a joint security control room and this joint security control room is very important because it will monitor both local and oversea maritime environment .” he noted.