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Cablegate: Nigeria: Maritime and Safety Agency Seeks Technical

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RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0384/01 2701431
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261431Z SEP 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0195
INFO RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9847
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH AFB UK
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000384

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS USAID FOR NFREEMAN, GBERTOLIN, GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ
STATE PASS EXIM FOR JRICHTER
STATE PASS OPIC FOR ZHAN, MSTUCKART, JEDWARDS
STATE PASS TDA FOR LFITTS, PMARIN
STATE PASS USTR FOR USTR AGAMA
DOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
DOC FOR 3310/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS
DOE for GPERSON, CHAYLOCK
TREASURY FOR DFIELDS, AIERONIMO, RHALL, DPETERS
TRANSPORTATION FOR KSAMPLE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT EFIS PGOV IZ NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: MARITIME AND SAFETY AGENCY SEEKS TECHNICAL
ASSISTANCE TO ADDRESS PIRACY, POLLUTION

Sensitive but unclassified-handle accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: The Director General of Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in a July 18 meeting with
EconOff, requested technical assistance in the areas of personnel
training and capacity building. In response to a 2008 International
Maritime Bureau (IMB) report that ranked Nigeria as the number one
hotspot for piracy, NIMASA has drawn up a roadmap to address
maritime security along Nigeria's coastline. Pollution control and
the promotion of the indigenous shipping industry constitute two
priority areas for NIMASA. End Summary.

2. (U) EconOff met with the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Ade
Dosunmu, who said Nigeria accounts for over 60 percent of the total
seaborne traffic in volume and value in West Africa. NIMASA,
created in 2006 through the merger of the National Maritime
Authority and Joint Maritime Labor Industrial Council, serves as the
apex regulatory and promotional body for Nigeria's maritime
industry. NIMASA's primary functions include regulatory, capacity
building, promotional, safety and security, and cabotage. On May 27,
under the designation of the International Maritime Organization,
NIMASA commissioned the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre
(MRCC), a sub-regional search and rescue center covering nine West
African countries.

Piracy Report Casts Nigeria in Bad Light
----------------------------------------

3. (U) In May, news media reported that Nigeria had been ranked by
the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), an arm of the International
Chamber of Commerce (ICC), as the number one piracy hotspot in the
world. Piracy in Nigeria is directed against oil company supply
vessels and fishing trawlers. (Note: Interlocutors stressed to
EconOff that not all waterborne criminal activities qualify as
piracy under the parameters set by the International Maritime
Organization (IMO), an agency of the United Nations tasked with
shipping safety and environmental issues. The IMO follows the
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which declares
piracy to be commercially motivated and directed on the high sea.
The IMB uses a more inclusive definition of piracy that makes no
distinction between the motivation and location of the waterborne
attacks. Under the IMO's stricter definition of piracy, therefore,
Nigeria is not the number one hotspot. End Note) The Nigerian Navy
reportedly is not equipped with the right equipment, weapons, and
vessels to control and react to piracy incidents. NIMASA and the
Nigerian Navy hosted an international conference, "Piracy and Armed
Robbery at Sea: Capacity Building for Effective Maritime Security,"
in late April 2008.

Piracy Threatens Shipping Business Prospects
--------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Nigeria's piracy problem poses tremendous commercial costs
as well as safety and security concerns. International shipping
operators told EconOff in previous meetings that the increasing rate
of piracy and waterborne criminal activities on Nigeria's coastal
water has resulted in escalating costs given higher insurance
premiums, compensation packets for expatriate employees, and cost
for self-help measures to ensure security. Douglas Berkheiser of
Maersk Nigeria Limited said, given the huge cost piracy imposes on
their operation, the company might have to reconsider taking on
future contracts if the situation goes unaddressed.

Personnel Training, Capacity Building
Needed to Improve Maritime Security
-------------------------------------

5. (U) Dr. Ade Dosunmu, Director General of NIMASA, told EconOff on
July 18, technical training for security personnel is an area in

LAGOS 00000384 002 OF 002


need of assistance. He hopes to have NIMASA personnel attend
training courses in the U.S. and to participate in site visits or
exchange programs with its USG counterparts such as the U.S. Coast
Guard. Currently NIMASA is collaborating with the Nigerian Navy
under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to address maritime
security issues. NIMASA is considering the implementation of a
government-funded ship monitoring network under which vessels
install tracking devices. Despite these advances, Dosunmu said
NIMASA needs more security equipments, vessels, and security
platforms to carry out its safety and security regulatory function.
The enactment of a Maritime Security Act is also necessary, Dosunmu
contended, to define piracy and criminal activities at sea and to
set up a legal framework for punishment.

Ship Waste Dumping: An Environmental Concern
--------------------------------------------

6. (U) Waste dumping, oily water, and bilge from vessels pose huge
environment concern all over Nigeria, Dosunmu shared. While some
companies are already providing reception facilities to receive and
process wastes, there is a need to provide more at ports and
terminals. Dosunmu said NIMASA has received letters of interest
from companies wanting to construct offshore reception facilities.
To counter the problem of waste and raise the profile of the issue,
NIMASA plans to turn a small unit devoted to environmental issues
into a full-fledged department in two months. Dosunmu hopes to
learn best practices from U.S. agencies dealing with maritime
pollution control.

NIMASA Funds New Ships for Indigenes
------------------------------------

7. (U) Dosunmu said the lack of capital constitutes the biggest
hurdle to developing an internationally competitive, indigenous
shipping industry. Shipping operators do not have the capital to
repair and maintain their old vessels or to acquire new ones. High
interest rates prohibit borrowing from the banks, he added. NIMASA
has created an intervention fund, with 25 percent of its total
revenue, to provide financing at single digit interest rates to
indigenous shipping operators to acquire new vessels. A second
financing scheme focuses on providing fund for ship repair and
maintenance. NIMASA is currently processing applications and will
make the first grant within a few months time.

8. (U) Comment: Clearly Dr. Dosunmu would welcome collaboration with
the United States, in particular the U.S. Coast Guard and Department
of Transportation, in addressing any or all of the issues. A project
focusing on the management of ship waste dumping would contribute to
the overall environmental protection effort in Nigeria. End Comment.


9. (U) This cable has been cleared with Embassy Abuja

BLAIR

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