WorldStage Newsonline-- While the world economy lost between $740 and $950 million last year to piracy at the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Navy believes that the revenue loss may increase.
Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, while briefing newsmen on the forthcoming Offshore Patrol Vessel, OPV, African Conference, said the continent was increasingly witnessing a progressive surge in offshore activities across the broad spectrum of maritime trade and business.
Tagged "delivering maritime security to Africa", the conference will hold between August 27 and 29 at the Eko Hotels, Victoria Island in Lagos.
Ibas, who doubles as the Chairman, Local Organising Committee, LOC, of the conference said decried the threats maritime insecurity and illegal activities pose to the continent's potentials, which necessitated an OPV conference.
He said, "The magnitude of these threats is aptly captured by a study of the advocacy group tagged 'Ocean beyond or piracy' in June 2013, which estimated that piracy in the Golf of Guinea cost the world economy between $740million and $950million last year and this cost is expected to rise this 2013.
"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."
As a follow up measure, Ibas said the navy had taken the lead in partnership with 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 proferring ways and means of building infrastructure and capacity towards combating the scourge," Ibas said.
He said 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.
"Others include technology transfer and development of domestic ship building capabilities, international best practices in OPV operations and exhibition of security and 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, proffer service products for industries, which could help surmount the problems African navies are facing," Ibas said.