Capt. Niyi Labinjo, Executive Secretary of Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), on Wednesday advised members to evolve effective security plans to protect their ships against piracy.
He made the remark in Lagos at a two-day seminar and training on "Maritime Piracy: A Humanitarian Response Programme for West and Central Africa".
The ISAN secretary, however, said that such security arrangements should be in line with the International Ship and Port facility Security (ISPS) Code.
He described piracy as armed robbery and said that those arrested on the Nigerian waters should be treated and prosecuted like armed robbers on land.
Labinjosaid that 12 incidents of ship attacks were recorded so far in 2012, adding that "these are just very few incidents that were reported".
According to him, the targets of the attacks are tankers at anchorage laden with oil.
"Sometimes, attacks are directed at fishing trawlers for cash and to also use the trawlers to reach the tankers and siphon petroleum products".
Labinjosaid that piracy was thriving because of the ready-made market for stolen petroleum products.
"It is time government started to regulate bunker supplies and once this is in place, the issue of stolen petroleum products will disappear.
"We also need to regulate the activities of chandlers (food and drinks suppliers in the ship) to effectively curb the activities of pirates.
"There is also the need to encourage ship crew to report suspicious shipping activities," he said.
Also speaking, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, the chairman of ISAN, lamented that things were no longer being done right in the maritime industry and this had given room for piracy.
"The people go to sea to rob because they could not get better jobs," he said.
In his contribution, Capt. Thomas Kemewerigha, the President of Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, called for insurance policies for crew members.
He also advocated the repositioning of the Nigerian Navy for the challenges of sea robbery.
Kemewerighaadvised that coast guards should be established while petroleum vessels should be escorted from one point to another.
He also suggested that a special court should be established to prosecute pirates and other offenders in the maritime industry. NAN
Copyright 2012 AllAfrica Global Media. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published April 11, 2012, in Leadership.)