By Godwin Oritse
AT the backdrop of high incidences of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, GoG, coterminous with Nigeria’s continental shelf, the Indian maritime authority has warned its seafarers to steer clear of Nigerian waters for fear of falling victims.
Disclosing this at the just concluded World Maritime celebration in Lagos, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Senibo Peterside said that NIMASA was currently working on the development with a view to assuaging the fears of the Indian authorities.
According to Peterside, there was an official document to the effect but he said that the maritime security architecture being put in place would checkmate criminality in the region.
Speaking on the development, Chief of Naval Staff, CNS, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, said both the Nigerian and Indian Navies have bilateral and multi-lateral agreements to deal with issues between the countries.
Ibas who was speaking at the third annual general meeting of the Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria, MASPAN, also said that both countries have excellent relations.
Ibas who was represented by the Flag Officer, Western Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, said there was a Memorandum of Understanding between both countries on sharing of shipping information.
He said: “The governments of both countries have approved and sanctioned the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on sharing of what you will call quiet shipping information between the Navies of both countries.
“This is also to assist issues like what you raised earlier on about seafarers. Seafaring is an international business whereby ships and crew come from various countries. Eventually, it will be in the interest of both Nigerian shipping community as well as those from the Indian shipping community as soon as we operationalize this MoU.”
Besides the MoU with the Indian Navy, the Nigerian Navy has joined the Global Maritime Security Network with a view to building capacity to further curtail activities of pirates and other forms of criminality in the GoG.
Ibas also said since the GoG is responsible for about 12.5 percent of global oil and gas supply to the world, efforts must continuously be made to secure the region.