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Stakeholders want national ocean policy for maritime sector

Stakeholders in the maritime security sector of the economy have advised the Federal Government to create a national ocean policy that will spell out the rules and functions of maritime sector operators.

According to them, this will help in reducing banditry, armed robbery and other vices and boosting security in the sector.

“To create harmony in the maritime sector, there is a need for a national ocean policy that will delineate rules and functions within the maritime domain,” they said in a statement issued at the end of the conference.

While speaking on the theme of the conference which was ‘Maritime Security and Effective Inter-Agency Collaboration’, the stakeholders stressed the need for government agencies in the maritime sector to collaborate with one another and with the private sector in promoting security.

The National President, PFSOFN, Uche Onyebadi, said the synergy among security agencies operating at the ports would go a long way in eliminating bottlenecks, conflict of interests and the various acrimonies that occurred in the areas of operation.

Onyebadi, who was represented by the National Vice President, PFSOFN, Dr Ignatius Ikechukwu, noted that there were no major attacks on any of the port facilities in 2019.

He attributed this to the vigilance of the officers and the increased investment in security technology by the government.

Also speaking, a naval officer, Captain George Alily, said Maritime Security was an enabler for the blue economy.

He said, ‘’The maritime environment has a lot of pollution that spills into militancy, restiveness, piracy and sea robbery.

“There is a need to interface and synergise with the private sector to leverage private partnership to secure the maritime space. Government agencies cannot do it alone, we must partner the private sector to drive security in the maritime sector.”

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According to him, the challenges facing the sector range from operational to legal impediments.

Ikechukwu maintained that synergy among security agencies would tackle a lot of negative trends including stowaway, hostage taking and numerous attacks on vessels.

He added that the security architecture needed to be strengthened to take care of activities of burglars at the anchorage.

He further said the deployment of technology would go a long way in tracking and tackling some of the threats, adding, ‘’We need a technology-driven security.”

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