Nigeria Intensify Efforts At Ensuring Maritime Safety
Receive Special Mission Vessels and other Assets to Combat Sea Crimes
Even as global insecurity continue to raise concerns across continents and governments make efforts to seek options and solutions to Maritime related crimes and keep the World’s oceans safe and secured, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has taken delivery of Special Mission Vessels, SMV, under its Deep Blue Project.
The vessels, named DB Lagos and DB Abuja respectively, arrived the country recently and are equipped with sophisticated intelligence gathering capability for timely detection of and response to illegal activities in the Nigerian maritime domain.
Receiving the Vessels, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, who was represented by the Chief Security Officer, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral M. M. Bashir, said “Piracy is an act inimical to the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and we are prepared, more than ever before, to give it all it takes to end this nefarious act”
He disclosed that the officers who would man the vessels will be given adequate training under the Deep Blue Project so that the special features of the vessels can be effectively utilized for the purpose for which they have been acquired.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said pirates and other criminals within Nigeria’s maritime domain up to the Gulf of Guinea would soon meet their waterloo with the arrival and installation of the critical assets under the Deep Blue Project.
Dakuku, represented by NIMASA’s Executive Director, Operations, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, disclosed that aside the two special mission vessels, ten Fast Interceptor Boats have also arrived the country and seven more are expected this year.
In Dakuku’s words “Today marks a new dawn for a more secure and stable maritime environment in Nigeria. This milestone in asset delivery inches us closer to full operational take-off of the Deep Blue Project, hence it marks a huge victory for the Nigerian maritime sector in the fight against maritime insecurity,” he said.
The DG disclosed that DB Abuja and DB Lagos, which are built to specifications would be intelligently operated as well as serve as mother vessels to Fast Intervention crafts that are able to respond to distress calls swiftly.
Dakuku said each of the interceptor boats has a combined engine capacity of 900HP and can do up to 55knots would be commanded by a Navy captain with full complement of naval personnel.
Recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) granted approval for a holistic maritime security architecture, which is a multi-pronged approach towards fighting piracy. Aside the sea assets, there are also land and air assets, which are expected in the country before the end of the year.
NIMASA also operates a Command and Control Centre at the Regional Maritime Resource Coordination Centre (RMRCC), which is also part of the Deep Blue Project.
As efforts intensify to tackle the multi-faceted issues of maritime crimes and safety, the Nigerian Maritime Administration Agency insists that it is fully committed to ridding criminal elements off Nigeria Waters and indeed the Gulf of Guinea.