The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has declared Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to its leadership role in the war on piracy and maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.
Peterside made the declaration in a keynote address he delivered at a symposium on Security in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London.
The meeting was jointly organised by IMO, Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), and the International Chamber of Shipping. It had in attendance MDs and CEO’s of top multinational shipping, oil and gas, and logistics firms.
He said the GoG countries were facing serious security challenges that had affected their economies severely and, therefore, needed global support and cooperation to tackle the problem.
He, however, said the location of the Gulf of Guinea held enormous advantages, as it holds a significant percentage of the world’s total oil and gas reserves as well as rich deposits of solid minerals, such as diamond, bitumen, copper, uranium, granite, quartz, lead, fluorite, and marble.
Already, Nigeria has committed to the hosting of a Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC), which comes up in the country’s capital, Abuja, from October 7 to 9.
Peterside stated that the conference will afford the international community a platform to develop actionable strategies to put an end to piracy and other security threats in the African geological and maritime region.
The NIMASA DG, who is also Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), noted that the Gulf of Guinea occupied a strategic location in international seaborne trade. It is home to two regional economic blocs: Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), comprising 26 countries.
“It is, therefore, seen as a resource provider and critical contributor to national growth and prosperity of the nations lining its coasts and even those inward and with no shared boundaries, due to the access it grants to them,” he said.
He disclosed that the region’s waterways were a key navigational route for international commerce, connecting the Far East to countries in the North and South of the Atlantic. “It is the hub of extensive Trans-Atlantic trade linking Africa with Europe and the Americas,” he said.