Wed. Aug 17th, 2022

Deep Blue Project has ensured Significant drop in Security incidents in the Nigerian waters, Gulf of Guinea- FG

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Deep Blue project has bolstered Nigeria’s maritime security architecture and increased monitoring and compliance enforcement far beyond Nigerian waters to the Gulf of Guinea area. The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki said this in her virtual address at the 32nd session of the General Assembly of the International Maritime Organisation(IMO).

Senator Saraki said “about this time, two years ago, we were all gathered in the Main Hall at the IMO HQ exchanging greetings, business cards and gifts, ready for the 31st Session of the IMO General Assembly to begin.  We ended that session in high spirits, full of hope and looking forward to tackling the issues at hand and exploring new frontiers with the newly elected Council, with the promise to all meet again in two years’ time. Three months later, our entire world changed.”

“The world was blindsided by the Covid-19 pandemic, and worst still, its effect on all our lives and livelihood.

“Therefore, it is indeed with a deep sense of honour, humility and privilege that I address you all at this Assembly and bring you the warm greetings of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“I am optimistic that this address will resonate with many of us, if not all, because one of the key lessons of the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, is that unlike individuals,  global issues cannot be confined within borders and conversely, that global solutions necessitate cooperation beyond our traditional understanding of boundaries of sovereign states. It has turned out that we are truly our brothers’ keepers.

“As we know, or rather as we experienced, the pandemic reaffirmed the indispensable role of the shipping industry to global trade – for example, the global eCommerce market rose at an exponential rate. May I remind us that at the height of the pandemic with subsequent lockdowns across the world, over 400,000 seafarers at a point, were stuck at sea as the crew crisis deepened.

“The fate and hardship Seafarers endured during the lockdown quite rightly led to them be classified as essential workers. On our part, Nigeria took immediate and urgent steps to comply with IMO circulars for crew/supply changes on board vessels, whilst vigorously conducting Covid-19 tests for seafarers in collaboration with Port Health Authorities, ensuring that seafarers who tested positive, received the required medical attention at the isolation centres. We join the IMO in calling for vaccination priority for seafarers.

“The onset of the disruptive impact of the pandemic on the transport sector, creating a global supply chain logjam impacted our daily lives, and will certainly do so even more with the upcoming holidays. This is of great and grave concern.   

The rising cost of shipping and the inability of shipping lines to retrieve their empty containers with its attendant negative multiplier effect, leading to drastic inflation in shipping, container prices, and increased delay times for companies, have also led to environmental issues, such as, blocking of access roads to the ports thereby affecting the impact of Government’s effort to ease the cost of doing business as it relates to shipping and logistics.

“Management of empty containers is an important economic and ecological challenge for the world, that the IMO has to look at critically, if it is to meet its aims of a 40%  carbon emissions reduction from the shipping industry by 2030 and decarbonize the shipping sector completely by the end of the century.

Nigeria looks forward to working with the IMO in establishing the necessary infrastructure and developing the required skills for the monitoring of carbon emissions from ships.”

“Our Maritime Security solution, Deep Blue project, has bolstered Nigeria’s maritime security architecture and increased monitoring and compliance enforcement far beyond our waters to the Gulf of Guinea area. This initiative has ensured a significant drop in the number of security incidents in the Nigerian waters and the entire Gulf of Guinea. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has widely attested to this remarkable feat in its second and third quarter reports of 2021. 

“On the legal side, I am pleased to report that Nigeria has been successful in prosecuting and convicting over 20 pirates under our Piracy Act.” 

Saraki concluded by assuring “that Nigeria is committed to ensuring compliance with all our  obligations to the IMO.”

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