By Aisha Cole
Onne – The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, on Friday urged all intelligence units of the agency to up their ante on intelligence gathering to stop piracy in Nigerian waters.
Peterside gave directive while addressing the staff of the agency in the Eastern Zone during the Agency’s Management visit to the Zone.
“One area we need to lay more emphasis on is the Eastern offshore enforcement, which appears there is a gap right now.
“We have a lot of offshore facilities in the Eastern Zone and over time, we have not taken the enforcement of the area very seriously.
“Right now, we will now take it seriously, especially with the availability of the enforcement platform,’’ NAN quotes Peterside as saying.
He said that NIMASA had upgraded its intelligence unit to “LIoyds List Intelligence’’ and urged all unit heads to start using the operation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the “LIoyds List Intelligence’’ is an electronic device used in tracking vessels.
NAN reports that Lloyd’s List Intelligence provides an interactive online service.
NAN reports that it offers detailed vessel movements, real-time AIS positioning, comprehensive information on ships, companies, ports and casualties as well as credit reports, industry data and analysis including short-term market outlook reports.
The NIMASA boss said that all the zones would now have access to data on both wet and dry cargoes as a result of the upgrade of NIMASA’s Lloyds Intelligence.
He said that the Lloyd’s system would also add other values to the maritime domain awareness of the agency.
“In the course of renewing the Satellite Surveillance System, one of the conditions is that more persons must have access to data.
“With this, no operator will be able to short change NIMASA’s regulatory and enforcement drive.
“In addition, the agency will enhance patrol surveillance, with the acquisition of enforcement vessels, coupled with Lloyds List Intelligence and maritime domain awareness,’’ Peterside said.
He said that, “Maritime industry is a data-driven industry.’’
The director-general said there was need to work very hard to provide the necessary data with adequate information to enable the units enforce their work.
Peterside said that NIMASA expected so much from the Eastern Zone with the understanding that there were three ports complex in the zone.
According to him, the Eastern Zone has more terminals and jetties than the other zone as well as more offshore oil and gas facilities.
He said that the agency expected much from the zone and pledged to render all necessary support to enable them achieve optimal efficiency.
The NIMASA boss said that the management would educate all staff to enable the clients change their perception.
Peterside said that the agency would increase the level of its relationship with other security agencies like the Ports Police, Nigerian Navy, Air Force in the Eastern Zone.
He said that the agency was about to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Navy to ensure that maritime crimes in the East were things of the past.
Peterside commended all the staff for giving the coordinators maximum support, adding that the coordinators could not excel without their support.
He said that the management would look into the issue of staffing casual drivers, who had spent at least 10 years in the service to enable them benefit from retirement remunerations.
The director-general laid emphasis on zero tolerance for corruption and pleaded with the staff to avoid any act that would lead them to corrupt practices.
“You may be our friends today but when it comes to enforcement, the rules will be fair and decisive,’’ he said.
He said that the management would consider building befitting offices in the zones to double their efforts while performing their duties.
Peterside said that NIMASA had instituted awards at the Zonal level which would he held once in a year.
The Coordinator of Eastern Zone of NIMASA, Mr Tony Ogadi, said that the NIMASA Eastern Zonal office occupies four economic strategic states of the South geo-political zone of Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom.
Ogadi said that the Eastern zone was the citadel of hydrocarbon and their peculiarities in the oil and gas.
“Hence their multi-faced endowment in the international and maritime trade.
“Since three and half years ago that we have been coordinating the affairs of Port-Harcourt Zone, we have recorded 5,639 international vessels with corresponding cargo throughput of 9.7 million tonnes as well as dry and wet cargoes.
“The zone has recorded 283,486 units of various sizes of containers and in the Cabotage trade, we have 1,719 cabotage vessels trading within the zone; and 638 of the vessels are currently on NIMASA’s Registry.
“12,329 Nigerian seafarers have worked onboard the above mentioned vessels representing 63 per cent of the total seafarers that have been engaged within the period on Cabotage vessels,’’ NAN quotes Ogadi as saying.
He said that 1,444 vessels had been built for the Cabotage trade, while 140 of the vessels were locally built.
In her closing remarks, the Head, Corporate Communications Team of NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, commended the efforts of the management team for working hard in transforming the agency to meet up the required standard.
Tumaka appreciated all the staff that joined the team from Lagos and the Zonal staff and urged them to continue support to the management.