STAKEHOLDERS in the maritime industry have stated that the successes recorded by the Nigerian Navy in the fight against piracy, sea robbery and other illegalities in Nigerian waters in recent times would help in no small way to boost international trade in the country. They maintained that the support for merchant shipping would also further international trade as it affects the shipping sector of the economy in the months ahead.
While lauding the strides the Navy has made in recent times, the stakeholders who stated this on the side line of the freight forwarders day in Lagos noted that in the past 12 months, the professional actions of the Nigerian Navy have thwarted not less than 15 determined attacks.
One of the stakeholders, Chief Adelusi Owolabi noted that information in international media and guidance released to shipping would suggest that there are few options available to secure shipping in Nigeria but the simple fact is that for many years, ships have made use of Nigerian security agencies and particularly the Navy as escorts to fend off any attacks.
Owolabi who has several years of experience and exposure in maritime security averred that it may be questioned whether some of the more recent incidents may have been avoided had the shipping companies been more aware of the security options available.
“The sole use of escort vessels restricts security options due to limited escort vessel availability and the higher cost, which sometimes can be up to ten times the cost of an embarked team. This situation can lead to companies deciding against additional security measures, with potentially catastrophic consequences,” he said.
On his part, a maritime lawyer, Mr Tony Odiadi said “The point is that any security breaches upon a vessel having legitimate presence within Nigerian territorial waters falls upon the Navy to take control, likewise any prevention or pre-emptive measure necessary such as seeking naval patrol or naval guards for protection of ships.”
The maritime lawyer noted that since the beginning of this year, the Nigerian Navy has increased their capacity and platforms, continued to support offshore operations, achieved constant successes against illegal refiners, detained numerous vessels for illegal activity on the nation’s waters, and has delivered on military commitments whilst supporting all maritime trade to enhance the Nigerian economy.
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