The maritime sector is the lifeblood of the global economy, hence, the need for maritime security in Nigeria and beyond.
Every day, consignments worth millions and billions of dollars are shipped around the world – from Europe to Africa, Asia to the Middle East, etc. This fosters bilateral relations and guarantees the collective survival of the global population.
The maritime industry is one of the largest in the world. However, this comes with existential threats like piracy, robbery, terrorism, etc. Combating these threats requires determined efforts to ensure the safety of marine vessels and the officers on board.
What is Maritime Security?
Maritime security is the process of conducting ocean governance to ensure the safety and security of the waters and vessels against existential threats like maritime terrorism, piracy, stowaway, trafficking of people and illicit goods, illegal fishing, environmental crimes, and maritime accidents and disasters.
Importance of Maritime Security
1. Stability at sea is a must. The concept of maritime security and marine safety is necessary to protect maritime installations, vessels, professionals, and the maritime environment. Nevertheless, implementing these aqua safety procedures begins with the training of professionals in maritime semiotics, strategies, and regulations.
2. Maritime security is responsible for economic development. History informs us that the oceans were, and will always be of vital economic importance. The bulk of global trade is conducted via sea and of utmost importance is the fishery industry – which has developed into a multi billion-dollar sector.
Also, the oil and gas industry – a massive economic boon for many nations – also depends on the marine sector.
3. Challenging maritime environment. Operating in a challenging and often complex maritime environment continues to pose a major risk to the maritime sector, driving the need for effective security solutions. Locations like the Gulf of Guinea in Africa is a notable example of a challenging maritime environment. This is largely due to the intense activities of pirates in that territory.
Read: Top Maritime Security Escort Vessels in Nigeria
IMO Provisions Facilitating Maritime Security
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating maritime activities, has made the following provisions facilitating maritime security:
1. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
On 1 July 2004, a new maritime security regulation framework was adopted into the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended, namely chapter X1-2 on Special measures to enhance maritime security, which includes the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code.
According to IMO, the ISPS Code entered into force a mere 18 months after its adoption by the SOLAS Conference in December 2002.
The adoption of the code was in response to the gruesome terror attack of September 11 (2001) in the United States. Consequently, the international community recognized the need to protect the international maritime sector against terrorism.
2. The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation 1988 (SUA Convention, including the 1988 and 2005 Protocols)
The SUA Convention emanated from growing concerns over unlawful acts which threaten the safety of ships and the security of their passengers and crews in the 1980s. Incidents of crews being kidnapped, ships being hijacked, or blown aground by explosives, passenger threats and murders led to the formation of the SUA Convention by the IMO in March 1988, in Rome.
The main purpose of the convention is to ensure that appropriate action is taken against persons committing unlawful acts against ships.
According to the IMO report, covered in the unlawful acts by the Convention, as outlined under Article 3 includes: the seizure of ships by force, acts of violence against persons on board ships, and the placing of devices on board a ship that are likely to destroy or damage it.
Furthermore, the Convention obliges Contracting Governments either to extradite or prosecute alleged offenders.
3. Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT)
The Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system provides for the global identification and tracking of ships. The obligation of ships to transmit LRIT information and the rights and obligation of SOLAS Contracting Governments and of Search and rescue services to receive LRIT information are established in the regulation V/19-1 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, according to the IMO report.
aquaterra Security Escort Vessels
Aquaterra Solutions Nigeria Limited is among the top licensed maritime companies in Nigeria effectively helping ship owners secure their vessels and cargo.
What We Do
Security Escort Vessels. We run fully sophisticated border-to-border security escort vessels. Designated escort boat or boats sail close to the sailing vessel carrying cargo for protection. Also, armed vessels will sail out and meet merchant vessels at the designated RV point. We work closely with the Nigerian Navy Armed Guards and maritime security liaison officers, providing detailed communication, situation reports, and computerized tracing.
Stowaway Search. Our company has the machinery to conduct a thorough and professional stowaway search for your cargo or vessels at berth. Our stowaway search is conducted by a specially trained team (including naval personnel) and trained sniffer dogs. Typically, the search should take between 3-4 hours. In addition, we maintain technical stowaway surveillance until the vessel set sails. In Nigeria, we have extended our stowaway search services to Lagos anchorage area. We are also one of the only companies with the capabilities to search offshore.
Vessel Leasing and Equipment. Through our good relationship with vessel owners, we can provide the following: Fast Intervention Supply Vessels (FISV), Platform Supply Vessels with DP1 and DP2 capabilities, etc.
Crude Oil Trading Brokerage. We can act as an intermediary providing easy means to buyers and sellers of crude oil to transact in a safe and reliable environment. We have established A good relationship with sellers of BCLO other crude oil commodity sellers across Europe and the Middle East. The whole transactional process is made simple, easy and secure courtesy of our team of experienced brokers.