The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside, says regional cooperation is key to safety and security of inbound and outbound goods and services to Africa through the seas.
Peterside, who was represented by the agency’s Executive Director Operations, Engineer Rotimi Fashakin, stated this while speaking at a technical workshop on Prospects, Challenges and Opportunities for Regional Collaboration on the sidelines of the just-concluded Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, in the United States, also noted that the development of the maritime sector on the African continent is hinged on regional cooperation.
He assured the select international stakeholders who attended the technical workshop of a renewed effort to enhance safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea based on sustainable regional cooperation.
He said that efforts at regional collaboration have led to signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ghanaian Maritime Administration, amongst others.
He added that Africa, particularly the Sub-Saharan region of the continent, stands to benefit from regional cooperation as this will enhance participation in international shipping, thus reversing the current trend of the region having only an insignificant part of international cargo freight.
He noted that the Federal Government of Nigeria supports regional integration as demonstrated with the approved Integrated National Security Strategy (INSS) for the Nigerian maritime sector which is designed to be implemented in collaboration with other countries in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
“The oil & Gas industry needs the maritime sector, particularly shipping, which is international in nature for it to thrive.
“ The fact that shipping is international in nature makes collaboration particularly at the regional level inevitable.
“This will serve as a catalyst for growth in the industry and we at NIMASA have recognized this fact, thus our numerous collaborative efforts which have begun to yield fruits,” he said