From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
A sustained reduction in reported cases of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigerian waters would end the War Risk Insurance premium on Nigeria-bound cargoes, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said.
Jamoh spoke in Lagos when he received the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, who led a delegation from the agency on a courtesy visit to NIMASA in Lagos.
The international shipping community, as could be seen from the recent reports by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), has acknowledged Nigeria’s progress in the quest for security in the Gulf of Guinea, he noted.
According to Jamoh, the sharp decrease in maritime incidents logged in IMB’s second quarter report was a valuable feedback on the agency’s campaign for Nigeria’s delisting from countries under the war risk insurance burden, and an indication that the shipping community looked forward to sustenance of the progress made.
“Feedback on our campaign for Nigeria to be removed from countries paying war risk insurance premium on inbound cargoes has confirmed that the international shipping community is watching developments in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea with keen interest,” he told the visitors,” a statement from the Assistant Director, Public Relations, Osagie Edward, read.
“Their desire is to see a sustainability of the positive developments in recent times, leading to a drastic decline in piracy attacks in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.”
“Since the deployment of the Deep Blue Project assets in February, there has been a steady decline in piracy attacks in Nigerian waters on a monthly basis.
“With adequate sensitisation of the international shipping community, I am sure that our quest to be removed from nations considered to have dangerous waters will soon materialise for the benefit of Nigerian shippers.”
Meanwhile, Jime has called for greater collaboration among relevant government agencies to enable the country derive the full economic benefits of the maritime sector.
Commending NIMASA for placing fleet expansion at the heart of its efforts to encourage indigenous participation in the maritime industry, he stressed that there was no better time for a national carrier than now that the world was gradually looking away from fossil fuel, the current mainstay of the Nigerian economy.
According to him, “Nigeria cannot be caught unawares. We need to look at ways of developing our shipping sector which, from studies, is capable of earning the country even more than oil annually. And maritime security is pivotal to achieving this goal.”