LAGOS – Justice John Tsoho, Chief Judge, Federal High Court of Nigeria, on Wednesday urged countries within the Gulf of Guinea to domesticate treaties and conventions on piracy into their laws.
Tsoho, represented by Justice Olayinka Faji made the call at the Lagos International Maritime Week (LIMWeek) 2021 with the theme: ‘Seafarers and Maritime Capacity at the Core of Africa’s Shipping Future’.
Tsoho spoke during a roundtable on Maritime Law, Education and Training.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974, as amended, includes provisions adopted to address maritime security matters.
Within SOLAS’s chapter XI-2 on Special Measures to enhance maritime security is the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, which is a mandatory instrument for all countries Party to the Convention.
He pointed out that the countries that had not domesticated these treaties and conventions were hampering the goal of stamping out piracy on our waters.
“Piracy is regarded as enemy of mankind and Nigeria has taken the bold step to fight this enemy through instituting many measures.
“On May 24, 2019, Nigeria enacted the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offenses Act (SPOMO Act) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency( NIMASA) had the Deep Blue project,” he said.
Also speaking, Mrs Funke Agbor , SAN, noted that to have a safe secured shipping industry that would facilitate international trade, there was need to secure the maritime industry.
According to her, Nigeria is under severe threat as regards piracy attacks and piracy being described as a Nigerian thing is not good at all.
“There is need to ensure that all countries in the region work together to have a cohesive approach to stem the tide of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The economy of the country should also be strengthened to make more work available for the youth to prevent them from embarking into piracy,” she said.
Agbor said that there was need for the law enforcement agency to be coordinated due to the fact that atines they are confusion on who was supposed to do what.
Also contributing, Dr Amos Kuje, Deputy Director, Seafarers’ Service Division of NIMASA noted that agency instituted the Nigerian Seadarers Development Programme (NSDP) a product of necessity aimed at building capacity for seafarer.
According to him, two areas lead to formation of the programme, the national challenge in 2004 which had to do with shortage of qualified and certified seafarers especially officer cadre.
“Continous dearth of vesss for onboard sea-time training, coastal and inland shipping (cabotage) Act 2003 manning requirements.
“International challenges which had to do with meeting up with the International Maritime Organisation’s requirements for seafarers’,” he said.
Capt. Joseph Awodeh, a Master Mariner said that there was need for continuous research, development and further improvements on existing technologies to sustain operations more easily, safely and cost effectively.
Awodeh while speaking on Sustainable Technology and Manpower Development for Africa’s Shipping Future said that to achieve these, new technologies had to be developed, introduced, recommended, applied and where necessary enforced.
“New regulations and audit regimes for compliance, risk assessments and new policy focus, new regulations are introduced.
“These are some of the dynamics that have driven new global maritime technologies and corresponding new regulatory regimes in the maritime industry,” he said.
He also urged Africa to take her rightful place in global shipping due to its enormous potentials of the continent, adding that this could be done through deliberately investing massively in men, assets and new technologies.
He pointed out the seafarers’ education and trainings should be standardised in line with industry best practices and as set out by the International Maritime organisation (IMO)- a United Nations organ.