By DAPO OLAWUNI
Following the disturbing trend of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the various maritime academies in Nigeria have been urged to always keep track of the certificates they issue to seafarers.
Speaking at a weekly discuss on Harbours and Ports, a maritime stakeholders forum, a former Director of Shipping in Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Capt Waredi Eniosou gave the recommendation, saying that NIMASA and training institutions must keep a database of seafarers they issue certificates to.
He said that some of the trained seafarers are the ones used to perpetrate illegalities on the waterways.
While the stakeholders proffer solutions to the piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the presence of foreign navies in the region, the NIMASA former Director said the presence of foreign navies in the Gulf of Guinea is an international scam.
“Any training that has to do with a license has to be guarded jealously by authorities. If you remember the Pirate Ship “EJENAVI” that we caught some years back, it was used to attack the “ANUKET EMERALD”
“I trained and examined that boy in Australia. He was my student. Little did I know what he would do with that training. But I did train him on how to catch a criminal at sea. That was the edge I had over him, that helped in apprehending him”
“This is why I would recommend that seafarer certifying authorities must keep a database and records on those they issue certificates to”
“After the 9/11 incident in America, jet pilots like myself cannot renew our certificates in Oxford, UK, unless we are attached to an Airline”
“We are regarded as people with dangerous skills, open to the good, bad and ugly, they had to tame us” he said
Capt Waredi noted that Nigeria has a lot of Seafarers, both trained and naturally bread loafing around without jobs.
He said that these seafarers are willing tools in the hands of pirate kingpins, who seat back and use the experienced seafarers for illegal operations.
“The perpetrators never go out. It’s the jobless that are the foot soldiers”
Speaking in the same vein, Capt Tajudeen Alao, President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, noted that certified unemployed seafarers are willing tools in the hands of criminals
“Destitutes are willing tools and pool for criminals to recruit from” he stated