The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy in partnership with the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC), Yaoundé, Cameroon, have concluded arrangements to host the fifth plenary of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum for the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE).
The Gulf of Guinea MCF/SHADE 5th plenary, which is scheduled to take place in Abuja from May 10th – 11th, has “Enduring and Sustainable Security” as its theme and all regional Navies amongst other international stakeholders are expected to attend.
Speaking ahead of the forum, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, identified regional co-operation as having played an important role in reducing incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
"The establishment of GOG-MCF/SHADE has enabled working-level stakeholders from the GoG region and outside the region to connect and discuss how best to tackle piracy in the area. 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," Jamoh said.
According to him, these collaborative initiatives and efforts of the Nigerian Navy he and other regional Navies including the deployment of the Deep Blue Project, has 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 feat 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,” he added.
The statement by NIMASA said that the Gulf of Guinea collaboration Forum SHADE was established by Nigeria and 22 countries of the ICC in July 2021 and that the goal was to implement effective operational counter -piracy cooperation amongst regional and international Navies as well as the shipping industry and reporting Centres of the Yaounde Code of Conduct, ICC, for the a Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa region.
According to the statement, the previous edition of the plenary held virtually in July last year, due to travel restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, and was hosted by the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute, GOGMI, in Accra, Ghana.
It added that Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral AZ Gambo and the DG NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh are leading participants in the plenary from Nigeria, while Captain Bell Bell of the ICC-Yaounde is leading the international Navies and participants to the plenary.