The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has called for the introduction of standard protocols and legal frameworks for effective prosecution of maritime related crimes to fight piracy,
This was disclosed in a statement by the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, on Wednesday, at the Third Technical Rotating Meeting of the project on “enhancing regional research, convening of stakeholders and capacity development in the Gulf of Guinea.
He also added that it has been implemented by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, and the Government of Denmark so far.
What he said:
“A communique calling for the transformation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC) into a binding convention for better coordination and optimal benefit to the member countries, was issued at the end of the meeting organised in partnership with NIMASA and the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC),” he said, citing the need for the standardization of regional maritime law enforcement, as some countries were already enacting their own antipiracy laws.
The Yaoundé Code of Conduct was signed in 2013 by 25 West and Central African countries, which enables a joint structure for operations, intelligence sharing, and harmonised legal frameworks among its five zones, two regional centres, and one Inter-regional Coordination Centre (ICC).
“We encourage countries within the region, which do not have distinct antipiracy laws, to try to enact such laws.
“It is in the interest of every country in the Gulf of Guinea to consciously work to remove obstacles to the prosecution of pirates and sea robbery suspects.
“Shipping is an international business, and crimes associated with it are equally international in nature. Now, how do you try a suspect in a country where our SPOMO Act cannot be applied?
“No country can fight maritime insecurity alone. It is a collective responsibility. There is hardly any nation that does not have commercial interest in the Gulf of Guinea.
“So, we must work to ensure uniformity of legal frameworks in the region, to facilitate effective prosecution of maritime crimes,” he said.
He added that the Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC) is a code of practice without any binding provisions. Which affects the way it is implemented at the regional and national levels and urged for expedited action towards the transformation of the YCC into a binding Convention taking on board, the peculiar contexts of diverse jurisprudence, linguistic traditions and the inter-regional coverage of the code, as well as the differing procedures of the three (3) sponsors of the ICC (i.e. ECOWAS, ECCAS and the GGC),” it said.
He stated that Such coordination efforts must begin with states demonstrating willingness to cede portions of their sovereignty and investing in the realizations of the provisions of the YCC.
“State and multilateral actors, who lead in the implementation of safety and security measures in the Gulf of Guinea, must identify and implement relevant confidence-building measures to reinforce the principles of coordination and in the implementation of the YCC,” he said.
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Nairametrics reported last week that The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) announced the introduction of new measures to check security threats in the Nigerian maritime industry.
According to the NIMASA , ship captains operating in Nigeria are required to submit the Security-Related Pre-Arrival Information (SRPA) forms to the agency not later than 48 hours before the ship’s arrival at any Nigerian port.