Lagos — The European Union yesterday called for stricter security architecture at the Nigerian maritime ports.
The EU stated this during the closing ceremony of Western and Central Africa Port Security (WeCAPS) 1st mission training in Nigeria for ports in Lagos area.
Speaking at the event Nico Vertogen, the team leader of WeCAPS said the need to strengthen the security and safety of the West and Central African ports cannot be overemphasized while stating that this will help reduce vulnerabilities and risks thereby increasing skills and vigilance.
Vertogen called for perimeter fencing of the ports, installation of CCTVs, access badges among others as a means to tighten the nation’s port security.
He explained that the WeCAPS project is a partner project with expertise given their opinion on safety and security accompanied by training
He said the “WeCAPS is not an approach of giving yellow cards or red cards, but it is an approach of working together among colleagues and experts”.
Speaking earlier the General Manager Security NPA Mohammed Khalil informed that the mission which started in August 2022 is sponsored by the European Union (EU) and driven by Expertise France (EF) with the collaboration of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He stated that the successful conduct of the training no doubt demonstrates the resolve and commitment of the authority to partnership and collaboration with international organisations such as EF, Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA), Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) USA, among others in order to address identified gaps and vulnerabilities in the ports with a view to enhance the country’s operational efficiency and to optimise performance in its service delivery.
He added that the training was built around a detailed assessment report of ports in the Lagos Maritime Security Zone (LMSZ) conducted in April 2022 together with the WeCAPS team of experts aimed at strengthening capacity of the country human capital in various areas of port operations, but particularly in the areas of port security, safety and fire service.
He explained that the ports are amongst the nation’s critical national infrastructure and assets which also include other maritime transportation systems and related industry.
He added that “As an integral part of the global maritime logistics and supply chain, the portrait file safety and security of the ports are of paramount importance to the well-being of the global economy”.
Khalil also commended the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA for ensuring a safe and better secured maritime domain through the implementation of its Deep Blue Project which has drastically stemmed the tide of maritime criminality in the nation’s waters.
“Interestingly, and looking at the entire gamut of our maritime and port security, credit must be given to the NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy (NN) for ensuring a safe and better secured maritime domain through the implementation of its Deep Blue Project which has drastically stemmed the tide of maritime criminality in our waters.
“This success is in addition to other giant strides recorded through the enactment of a policy framework such as the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (HSOP) on arrest, detention and prosecution of vessels and persons in Nigeria’s maritime environment” he said
He noted that in all of the training by WeCAPS, more than 150 officers and staff have been trained and have acquired sufficient professional knowledge and skills in various areas of needs and competencies which cut across Security, Fire, Safety, Environment, Operations, Harbours, Legal, Training and Public Private Partnership.
He said the NIMASA, the NN and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) are amongst other national agencies that have also benefited from these training.
Speaking also the Managing Director of NPA, who was also represented by the General Manager Security NPA Mohammed Khalil commended the European Union for the WeCAPS training mission to strengthen the security and safety of ports in the West and Central African region.
He said the training mission in Nigeria came at a time when the authority is prioritising safety and security to achieve a hub status within the region.
“This commitment is in line with the authority’s vision to be the maritime logistics hub for sustainable port services in Africa, which also prioritises delivery of efficient port services in a safe, secure and customer-friendly environment,” he said.
Speaking also the Head ISPS unit of NIMASA Mr. Mudi Isa commended the WeCAPS for its immense commitment to port safety and security not just within the European Union region,but within the shores of Nigeria.
He said the workshop is among a series of engagements under the technical assistance program offered by WeCAPS and WMU.
“No one here doubts the fundamental role the maritime industry plays in boosting global trade and economic prosperity. We are also aware that effective collaboration is critical in dealing with issues of security, otherwise we will not all be gathered here.
“The maritime industry is such a closely knit community that security threats can migrate from a vulnerable port in one country to a seemingly less vulnerable one in another country using ships as a ‘conduit’ for this migration.
“Therefore, while we continue to maintain constructive collaborative efforts, the onus is on each nation to properly secure its maritime domain.
“As an agency, NIMASA is saddled with key responsibilities to ensure maritime security in Nigeria’s maritime domain. This is why maritime security is the cornerstone of the “Triple S” strategy of Maritime Security, Safety and Shipping Development initiated by the current Executive Management upon assuming office in March 2020.
“This has led to our execution of several initiatives, in partnership with other relevant government bodies such the Nigerian Navy, Airforce, Police, Army, the DSS, and several other state and non-state actors and stakeholders having security responsibilities.
“As a result, we are currently experiencing successes in ensuring maritime security within the nation’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) as a whole. Specifically, the GoGregion is experiencing an unprecedented decline in piracy incidents which it has not experienced for the past three decades. A feat which has been attested to by the International Maritime Bureau (the IMB)” he stated.
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