The Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron, Commodore Duja Effedua (rtd), has stated that the country lost a whooping N329.5billion to maritime crimes in 2016.

Speaking at the ongoing summit organised by the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIOTA), Commodore Effedua said that Nigeria paid so mush to criminal activities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. He disclosed that Nigeria paid about $4.5million.

Effedua also said that the failure of security agencies to share real time intelligence as a major source of drawback in the fight against maritime crimes.

He added that the economic cost of maritime crimes affects Nigerian more than other countries in the Gulf of Guinea.

He however opined that with the establishment of the Integrated Security and waterways protection infrastructure otherwise known as the Deep Blue project, it is hoped that the excesses of criminal elements on the nation’s coastal and territorial waters will be curtailed.

He stated: “A safe marine environment prepares the oceans for a secured atmosphere for maritime trade. Criminal elements have been reported to use wrecks as safe haven to launch surprise attacks on merchant vessels.

He also called on the leadership of the CIOTA to brace up to the duty of drawing the attention of relevant authorities to the need to entrench global best practices in the implementation of the maritime safety laws.

“Maritime in the Gulf of Guinea region comes at a very high cost of N329billion about 793.7million when compared to Asia, which was estimated at N1.8billion in 2016.

This year’s summit provides the opportunity to amplify the message concerning the need to for the regulatory authorities to strengthen the regulatory powers of the Port State Control, PSC Inspection as the last line of protective layer against sub-standard shipping in our waters.

“It is rather disheartening that the regulatory framework to assure the safety of operations on our internal waters is still evolving as evident from incessant reports of boat mishaps in the inland waterways in recent time”, he noted.