The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitack Lim has commended Nigeria for its leading role in efforts to secure the Gulf of Guinea, pledging that the “IMO remained committed to supporting the region in its efforts to ensure maritime security.”
London-based IMO is the specialised agency of the UN responsible for regulating shipping.
Lim noted in a statement on Sunday that Nigeria had made important contributions to the fight against piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain.
“I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the Nigerian government for its continued contribution towards the endeavours to ensure safe and secure maritime operation in the Gulf of Guinea,” Lim said.
The IMO statement, signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), quoted Lim as saying that such actions had helped the work of seafarers and improved shipping in the region, while curtailing illicit maritime activities.
Lim commended the Federal Government’s recent launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, describing it as a major development in the world to avert piracy.
He added that the project also reflected Nigeria’s commitment to lead the fight against piracy, not only on her national waters, but in the Gulf of Guinea.
Lim acknowledged the need for more collaboration and contribution to the antipiracy war, adding that there was ”still more work ahead for all of us.
“The world is watching and we must ensure we succeed in our objective to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea region”, he added.
Similarly, the IMO secretary general praised Nigeria’s determination to galvanise regional and international energies to rid the country’s waters and the Gulf of Guinea of threats to shipping.
“I’m encouraged to envisage the promise of inter-regional cooperation on so many levels. I will like to express my deepest appreciation for Nigeria’s active engagement in all these global and regional initiatives,” Lim also said.
It was reported that the Deep Blue project is domiciled in NIMASA, while the Maritime Security Unit (MSU), with personnel drawn from the Nigerian Armed Forces, the police, the Department of State Services and NIMASA, is responsible for its operational deployment.
Also, Nigeria and the Inter Regional Coordination Centre (ICC) Yaoundé recently floated the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum (GOG-MCF/SHADE) after meetings between NIMASA director general Dr Bashir Jamoh, and Adm. Narciso Fastudo Jr., Executive Director of ICC Yaoundé. GOG-MCF/SHADE is now a forum to galvanise regional and international efforts to ensure security in the Gulf of Guinea.