The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has canvassed strong regional cooperation to ensure the safety and security of inbound and outbound goods and services to Africa through continental waterways globally.
Peterside made this point at a technical workshop on Prospects, Challenges and Opportunities for Regional Collaboration at the sidelines of the just concluded Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston Texas, United States of America.
The maritime industry regulator, who pointed out that the development of the maritime sector on the African continent was hinged on regional cooperation, assured the international stakeholders at the forum of NIMASA’s renewed effort to enhance safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea based on sustainable regional cooperation.
Represented by the Authority’s Executive Director Operations, Engineer Rotimi Fashakin at the global conference, Peterside disclosed that NIMASA’s efforts at regional collaboration led to signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ghanaian Maritime Administration, amongst others.
According to him, Sub-Saharan Africa stands to benefit from regional cooperation as this will enhance the continent’s share in global shipping industry and by so doing, reverse the current trend of insignificant participation of the region in international cargo freight.
The NIMASA boss, who is the current Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), explained that the Nigerian government remained committed to regional integration of the maritime industry as demonstrated with the approved Integrated National Security Strategy (INSS) for the Nigerian maritime sector designed to be implemented in collaboration with other countries in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
He clarified: “The oil & Gas industry needs the maritime sector, particularly shipping, which is international in nature for it to thrive. The fact that shipping is international in nature makes collaboration particularly at the regional level inevitable. This will serve as a catalyst for growth in the industry and we at NIMASA have recognized this fact, thus our numerous collaborative efforts which have begun to yield fruits.”
Peterside also told the stakeholders that NIMASA had established a command and control centre for enhanced situation awareness, response capability, law enforcement and regional cooperation amongst others as a strategic option of enhancing security of the nation’s waterways and by extension, the entire region.
The industry regulator assured the international community that NIMASA would continue to collaborate with other countries in Sub Saharan Africa and beyond in order to realize its vision of a prosperous maritime sector in West Africa and Central African sub-regions.
While canvassing sustained collaboration across various continents, Peterside noted that improved profiling and information sharing on maritime criminality and illegality, enhanced maritime domain awareness and surface to air patrol capabilities, functional legal framework, integration of national inter-agency efforts, amongst others, remained critical to finding lasting solutions to the challenges of insecurity in the maritime industry globally.