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‘Global economy loses $950m’

THe Nigerian Navy yesterday said the world economy lost between $740 million and $950 million last year to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, addressed reporters yesterday on the forthcoming Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) of African Conference in Lagos, said the revenue loss might increase in subsequent years, if measures were not taken to curb the menace.

Ibas, who doubles as the chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the conference, said the continent had been witnessing increasing surge in offshore activities in maritime trade and business.

He decried the threats maritime insecurity and illegal activities posed to the continent’s potential, adding that these made an OPV conference imperative.

Ibas said: “The magnitude of these threats is aptly captured by a study of the advocacy group, tagged: Ocean Beyond or Piracy, in June 2013. It estimated that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea cost the world’s economy between $740 million and $950 million last year and this cost is expected to rise this year.

“In response to this, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, aptly advocated for an international conference of naval chiefs and stakeholders to provide credible and sustainable solution to the scourge of maritime insecurity in Africa’s maritime domain.”

The Flag Officer said the navy has taken the lead in partnering the International Quality and Productivity Centre (IQPC) to organise a defence and security conference.

“The conference, which is first of its kind in Africa, is aimed at addressing the teething insecurity awareness issues as well as proffering ways and means of building infrastructure and capacity towards combating the scourge,” Ibas said.

According to him, the conference will focus on anti-piracy and sea robbery operations; cost-effective OPV and naval systems acquisition as well as multilateral and innovative protection measures for offshore oil assets.

He added: “Others include technology transfer and development of domestic ship-building capabilities, international best practices in OPV operations and exhibition of security as well as defence-related equipment for protection of oil and gas assets.

“At the end of the day, the conference seeks to find solutions to operational challenges, offer service products for industries, which could help to surmount the problems African navies are facing.”

The theme of the conference is: Delivering Maritime Security to Africa and will hold between August 27 and 29 at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

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