By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said that plans have been concluded for the fifth plenary of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum for the Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE).
Organised in partnership with the Nigerian Navy and the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC) Yaoundé, the forum, with theme as, “Enduring and Sustainable Security,” is billed for the Nigerian capital, Abuja, from May 10 to 11, with all regional navies and international stakeholders expected to attend.
Ahead of the event, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, noted that regional cooperation has played an important role in reducing incidents of piracy in the GoG, according to a statement from the agency’s head of Public Relations, Mr. Osagie Edward.
“The establishment of GOG-MCF/SHADE has enabled working-level stakeholders from the GoG region and outside to connect and discuss how best to tackle piracy in the area,” Jamoh stated.
“We believe that this has been a catalyst for non-regional stakeholders to step up and initiate effective maritime law enforcement operations to support regional efforts.
“These collaborative initiatives and efforts of the Nigerian Navy and other regional navies, including the deployment of the Deep Blue Project, have been responsible for the considerable reduction in piracy incidents on Nigerian waters and the GoG region.
“It is noteworthy that the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has removed Nigeria from the global piracy list. Achieving this is not easy, but sustaining the status will be more challenging. Our goal is to sustain this new status of a piracy-free Gulf of Guinea.”
Nigeria and 22 countries of the ICC established the GoG collaboration Forum SHADE in July 2021 to implement effective operational counter-piracy cooperation among regional and international navies, the shipping industry and reporting centres of the Yaounde Code of Conduct for the Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa region.
The previous plenary held virtually last July due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, and was hosted by the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GOGMI) in Accra, Ghana.
The leading plenary participants from Nigeria are the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral AZ Gambo, and Jamoh, while Capt. Bell Bell of the ICC-Yaounde is leading the international navies and other participants to the plenary.