“…Maritime insecurity has economic, social, political and environmental implications globally; hence the need for GMSC conference to focus on it.” -Dr. Peterside
Securing the Nigeria’s territorial waters has been a serious challenge to facilitate legitimate movement of goods and services between the country and other nations of the world.
In recent times, maritime security issues have featured prominently on the agenda of international, and national discourse on sustainable socio-economic development, particularly the use of oceans and high seas for maritime activities. But the waters have also been used for banditry and other crimes such as smuggling of illicit and dangerous goods, kidnapping, terrorism, illegal fishing and pollution.
According to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC), about 40 per cent of all maritime incidents reported globally in the first nine months of 2018 occurred within the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
This is in furtherance of the fact that a nexus exists between a well-secured maritime domain and seamless trade facilitation among countries. The reason for this increasing attention on maritime security is the grave threats insecurity on the seas pose to international trade, socio-economic developments, the marine milieu, human safety, freedom of navigation and peace.
The potent threats also include piracy, armed robbery at sea, bunkering and trafficking of people.
Mostly affected by these crimes on the high seas is the maritime industry, which has been identified as very critical to global commerce and distribution of vital resources. About 90 percent of world trade by volume and up to 75 percent in value are carried out by sea.
No doubts, the maritime industry contributes and sustains economies of both coastal and land locked countries, connecting industrial centres and markets within and beyond national borders. It is among the world’s global innovative and forward-looking industries and noted to have capacities to generate employment, value creation and spill over to other industries, making it an important driving force for sustainable economic growth and positive developments.
For the industry to further develop its value chain potential and continue to facilitate legitimate movement of goods and services, providing livelihoods and necessary marine resources to accelerate developments, maritime security is imperative.
Safety is of considerable importance now that the world is looking at the high seas and oceans as the new frontiers for advancing economic diversification and prosperity, technological innovations and energy generation otherwise known as the Blue Economy.
It is on this premise that the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC) 2019, a high-level maritime security conference to be hosted by Nigeria is a must-attend conference. The theme of the Conference is “Managing and Securing Our Waters.”
The Conference holds at the prestigious International Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, from October 7 to 9. The host is Dr Dakuku Peterside, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the organisation responsible for regulations relating to Nigerian shipping, maritime labour and coastal waters.
The agency, which has its headquarters in Apapa, Lagos, also undertakes inspections and provides rescue services. Peterside said, “Maritime insecurity has economic, social, political and environmental implications globally, hence the need for the conference”.
The NIMASA boss disclosed that the conference would also feature intensive interactive sessions designed to expand, address and deliver a workable framework that would to tackle the key issues on the safety of the waterways.
This year’s conference hopes to achieve the following overarching objectives: to define the precise nature and scope of coordinated regional responses to maritime insecurity vis-à-vis intervention supports from external actors/partners; evaluate the relevance and impacts of the various interventions initiated already to tackle maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea with a view to revising and adapting them to address the current challenges.
Others are: to decisively move towards policy harmonization and effective implementation through regional integration and cooperation as effective method for delivering efficient security in the region.
In addition to tackling threats to maritime security, the conference will also strategize alternative approaches to tackle cyber security attacks and other forms of emerging maritime security threats.
It is also expected to proffer deeper global commitment to deployment of military resources to fight to a standstill maritime insecurity within the region.
Participants are expected from relevant government ministries and agencies as well as the Nigerian Navy and Coast Guards, maritime lawyers and professional insurance firms and banks.
Others are the oil and gas sector, high-level industry practitioners, ship owners and charters, oil companies’ Chief Executive Officers, trade executives, and classification societies.
Also expected are industry stakeholders such as professional consultancy and experts, international, continental and regional bodies, shipping logistics, ship broker, ship managers and agents, support services, foreign missions and diplomats, policy makers and research institutions as well as non-governmental organisations.
- Source: JEROME ONOJA, LAGOS