INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION AND THE SECURITY OF NIGERIA’S MARITIME DOMAIN
Keywords:International Maritime Organization (IMO), Maritime Security, Maritime Domain, Maritime Safety, Piracy
The paper examines International Maritime Organization and the security of Nigeria’s maritime domain. Routine Activity Theory was adopted as theoretical framework. Both qualitative (interview) and quantitative secondary sources were used for data collection in the study. Primary sources include the use of interviews, while secondary sources were also explored from voluminous online articles and official documents. The study discovered that some of the theft and armed robbery against vessels in Nigeria’s maritime domain and GOG in general are due to a high level of bribery and corruption such as port and security personnel teaming up with criminals. Thus, it becomes inappropriate and legally wrong to describe theft and armed robbery at sea within internal and territorial waters and port facilities as piracy. The study also found that IMO has effective and efficient mechanisms in place for the elaboration, development and adoption of international treaties, rules and regulations and their implementation through the tacit acceptance procedure adopted for amendments to most fundamental international conventions. The IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has assisted member states to develop a Code of Practice to aid investigation of maritime piracy. The Code of practice recommends that states should adopt legislation to establish their jurisdiction over piracy and armed robbery against ship, including laws for prosecution of maritime crimes offenders. The study recommended that successfully fighting the scourge of maritime crimes would involve the formulation and enforcement of national anti-piracy laws which would clearly define acts under criminal headings and prescribe in clear terms, the full penalties for same. In addition, the mechanism for enforcement should be included. The IMO in recognizing the importance of domestic laws in the prosecution of pirates passed Resolution A.1025 (26) which encourages states to ratify enabling legislation that would codify their jurisdiction over piracy and establish procedures to facilitate the prosecution of pirates at sea. The Resolution further recommends guidelines for piracy investigation strategy. Some of their suggestions include that the state that own the attacked ships should initiate investigations for piracy incident while the state whose territorial waters the incident occurs should bear responsibility to investigate armed robbery at sea.
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