*Laments proliferation of Recognized Security Organisations
Lagos — A group, Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria, MASPAN, has said that foreign armed marine security personnel has taken over Nigeria’s territorial waters, a development they say is against international laws.
Speaking at the group’s Annual General Meeting, AGM, held in Lagos, its President, Capt George Alily, said that the increased presence of Private Maritime Security Company, PMSC, has become a source of worry for members of the group.
Alily also said that the unwillingness to share intelligence amongst PMSCs has led to numerous attacks on vessels on the Nigerian waters despite repeated distress calls for help.
In a Marine Notice published on its website, they warned that the government should stop the practice of allowing vessels to enter Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, with foreign Armed Personnel on board.
Part of the Marine Notice read: “In view of a recent development within Nigeria’s Maritime space where a local Vessel (name withheld) was used as Loiter/Platform to temporary hold foreign armed security personnel on escort of a Container Vessel (Name withheld) and subsequent arrest of the crew and armed guards on the loiter, MASPAN will like to advise members and the international shipping community that the Association is closely monitoring events as to its conclusion, in order to continue to provide guidance MASPAN, is actively engaging with local authorities with a view to providing unambiguous guidelines to shipping on the position of the law and the Nigerian state regarding such situations. In the meantime, MASPAN will like to advise members, Ship Owners/Managers, Flags and indeed the shipping community as follows;
“MASPAN is of the strong view that Ship Owners should suspend the practice that involves entering Nigeria’s EEZ with foreign Armed Personnel on their vessels regardless of type and size until clear guidelines are provided from the Nigerian Authorities.
“Owners/Managers are strongly advised to carry out due diligence on local companies before they are engaged for the provision of security and security auxiliary services to ensure the company is familiar with the rules and complicity that exist as well as legally registered to render such services.’’