The Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat) has offered to deploy it NigComSat-1R satellite, the super hybrid, high power, quad band geo-stationary satellite to arrest Nigeria’s sea piracy profile and other criminalities along the vast international maritime waters, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek has learnt.
The offer was eagerly accepted by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (Nimasa), the apex regulatory and promotional maritime agency.
Ahmed Rufai, managing director and chief executive, NigComSat Limited, said the deployment of the satellite would help stem the rising attacks because of the satellite’s stronger footprints and centre beams over the African Continent.
Pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea had been on the rise with Nigeria said be recording the recorded the highest of the attack in the region.
According to the Nimasa, Nigeria loses over N470 billion annually due to the worsening cases of maritime piracy and sea robbery in the nation’s territorial waters.
The International Maritime Bureau has for two consecutive years rated the Nigerian waters as most unsafe after Somalia due to the worsening cases of maritime piracy and sea robbery within Nigerian waters.
And because the criminals are better equipped than law enforcement agencies, policing the international maritime waters has been a challenge.
Rufai however said that there are hopes with NigComSat-1R which provides optimal and cost effective voice, data, video, internet and application services solutions among other features needed to tackle the identifies problems by Nimasa.
The NigComSat boss who spoke on “Modalities to address hijacking/armed sea robbery on fishing trawler” at the one-day forum organized by Nimasa in Lagos also said that the country loses about $25 billion annually due to illegal bunkering.
He said that his company “provides broadband internet services, GSM backhauling, Marine Communication, among others. So, NigComSat-1R built on a hybrid satellite with radiation-hardened technology, high reliability, onboard software re-programmable ability, fault tolerance, redundant components and high efficiency is there to add value to the processes of maritime safety in Nigeria.
“In essence, we have the capacity to provide data required for your search and rescue operations because NigComSat-1R” he added.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the NigComSat-1R is a critical ICT backbone infrastructure to drive the National ICT revolution in providing revenue diversification for the Nation and offering cost effective solution and affordable access to meet Nigeria’s telecommunications, broadcast, aviation, maritime, defense and security needs.
Impressed with the presentation, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, director general of Nimasa gave a nod for discussions with NigComSat- to secure Nigerian waters.
Elsewhere, Mrs. Bola Kupolati of the Directorate of Fisheries, Abuja said owners of fishing trawlers feel lethargic in reporting incidents of attacks on their vessels.
Citing lack of proactive measures by relevant bodies, Kupolati noted that sea piracy was having a telling effect on the nation’s economy as the maritime fishing industry is adversely affected.
She stated that sea going fishing vessels dropped from 269 in 2009 to about 139 in 2011.
“Nigeria’s food security is being affected; our foreign exchange is being affected because these activities lead to capital flight as many of the foreign vessels now come in to do most of the jobs. In all the stakeholders meeting we have attended it has been talks but no solution,” said Kupolati.