*Says that Maritime security is beyond port security
Lagos — The Security Practitioners Association of Nigeria, MASPAN, has said that the concept of narrowing maritime security to port facility is at variance with what maritime security is all about and called for establishment of a maritime security directorate in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report in Lagos, the General Secretary of MASPAN, Mr. Emmanuel Maigwa, said that maritime security is beyond port security governed by the International Ships and Port Facility, ISPS, Code.
Maigwa also said that there are vessels that pass through Nigeria’s territorial waters that get attacked usually outside the ports.
He expressed concern over the delay in creating a Maritime Directorate in NIMASA adding that the ISPS Unit at the agency was just a unit that may be able to meet the maritime challenges in sector.
He stated: “I think they should start looking beyond port facility, by now, the agency should have a directorate of maritime security where ISPS will just be a Unit.
“You have also the issues of maritime security challenges like training, certification, and accreditation under that directorate and they all will report to the Director.
“Before ISPS, so many terminals have already put in place security measures to secure their facilities. For example, the issue of piracy or sea robbery, it depends on where it occurred, is something that has to be dealt with within the justice system and there is no way you can implement a good justice system in any environment where you first cannot identify a threat and then make arrest for the purpose of collecting evidence so you can have a successful prosecution.
“Now, this is an area we need to look into; there is an Harmonized Standard Operating Procedure, HSOP, that exist today but the HSPO is just a collection of different procedure from different agencies”, who is to make arrest if I may ask.
“Now the Police has retreated to a certain distance so that the Navy can go off-shore to make arrest, has he been trained in investigation and prosecution; At a point he will be distorting evidence. So by the time he is handing over to the Police it is already a weak case.
“So these are issues that should be looked into and it is only NIMASA that can spearhead this and you cannot do that with only the existence of ISPS Unit; we need to look at it holistically.
“We need to start having policies on how to enforce these measures that have been put in place.”