Nigeria Inaugurates New Security Assets To Combat Piracy
London, June 10, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Nigeria has taken a giant step against maritime piracy with the inauguration of a new Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure also known as the Deep Blue Project at the ENL Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos
The new Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure will serve as a critical component to enhance maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.
Nowhere on earth do pirates strike more often than the Gulf of Guinea, where more than 130 sailors were taken hostage last year. The area is more dangerous than the Somali coast.
At the inauguration, the President, who witnessed the demonstration of a range of assets to tackle maritime insecurity said ‘‘This Flag-off is an important step in the continuing shift in strategic action about regional maritime security.
‘‘It will serve as a benchmark for member states in the Gulf of Guinea and other relevant stakeholders to further develop innovative strategies and align efforts with the subsisting framework to improve maritime security in the region,’’
‘‘With the world’s waters accounting for over 80% of transportation requirements of the global economy, concerted efforts and innovative actions are required to address attendant security challenges.
‘‘Therefore, the flag-off of the project marks an important milestone in this regard and in our collective effort to tackle security challenges in the form of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. It is also a demonstration of government’s strong commitment to ensuring security.
‘‘This intervention, no doubt, will facilitate a conducive environment for the maritime sector to thrive and contribute to the diversification of the Nigerian economy,’’ he said.
According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), there were 135 maritime kidnappings recorded in 2020 —and 130 of them took place in the Gulf of Guinea. Much like the capture of the Mozart, many of those kidnappings followed an increasingly dangerous script.
“We see that the pirates are acting with greater impunity,” IMB Director Michael Howlett told DW. “They are spending more periods of time on board vessels. In one case, they were on board a vessel for more than 24 hours, totally unchallenged.”
Calling for greater collaborations among countries in the Gulf of Guinea to secure Nigeria’s waters and beyond, President Buhari noted that the assemblage of the new maritime security assets was coming at a critical time when global discussions are centred on piracy activities and the new dimension it has taken in the region.