Coast Guard Will Enhance Enforcement of Maritime Laws Within Nigeria’s Territorial Waters – Gov. Diri’s SSA On Tourism
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism and Publisher of the Blue Economy magazine online, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has lauded the federal government’s plan to establish coast guard, saying that it will strengthen and enhance the enforcement of maritime laws and regulations as applicable in Nigeria’s territorial and inland waterways.
Dr. Kiyaramo who stated this while exchanging views with newsmen in Yenagoa at the weekend maintained that maritime security remains the anchor that ensures the stability, safety, and prosperity in the maritime sector of the economy, reiterating that maritime security within the Blue Economy is one major source of economic development and growth within the country’s maritime domain.
Describing maritime security as one of the most dynamic sectors, he emphasised that security plays a vital role in driving national economic growth, with a view to fostering international trade and generating employment opportunities within the country.
The publisher further informed that the proposed Coast Guard Service would compliment the services of other existing agencies to handle issues relating to maritime security, safety, fisheries protection, pollution control, sanitation, narcotic drugs, prohibited plants, psychotropic substances, illegal firearms and ammunitions, and protection of maritime resources.
According to him, “maritime interests are critical to our nation’s security, economy, and prosperity because the nation’s waterways are very precious environmental resources used for both commerce and tourism. Coast Guards will compliment sister agencies to protect the sea as well as help mariners in distress as part of theirs core functions.”
He explained that while maritime security largely focuses on the protection of vessels and their cargo from external threats such as smuggling and piracy, the goal of maritime safety is to protect people, and in some cases the environment from naturally occurring or accidental hazards at sea.
“These hazards, however, can be just as or even more harmful than external threats. Maritime safety is the protection of crew and passengers aboard vessels, as well as those living or working near water bodies from hazards and the risk of injury or fatality in line with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, and the provision of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), which aid in the recovery of persons in water who are at risk of hypothermia ( a medical emergency that occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature) drowning, and even death.
“The blue economy gives us the opportunity to maximise economic resources related to the seas, oceans and waterways generally, while restoring damaged ecosystems as well as introducing innovative technology that helps us to efficiently and sustainably manage everything the seas can offer us as a maritime nation,” Dr. Kiyaramo said.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, recently disclosed plans by the Federal Government to establish coast guard, as part of efforts to enhance security along coastlines in the country.
The former Osun State Governor, who disclosed this at the 32nd edition of the annual Iragbiji Day celebrations in Osun State, said there were conscious efforts to further secure the marine environment in the country, informing that “the existence of the Deep Blue Project deploys gunboats and other equipments for security on the coastline.
“We are already looking at the possibility of establishing a coast guard, which will be designed essentially to ensure the safety of our coastline. We have not less than 853 kilometres of coastline in Nigeria and about 10,000 perimeter of inland waterways. If we want to ensure coastal tourism, we must provide adequate security. We are working with the Navy, Marine Police and others to ensure security,” the Minister said.