By Anthony Nwachukwu
Two special mission aircraft in the Deep Blue Project fleet of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will be deployed to fighting oil theft to protect the nation’s economy, the Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has assured.
Jamoh, who spoke recently at the Nigerian Shippers Council’s 16th Maritime Seminar for Judges, described oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining as unlawful activities that could threaten the nation’s economic and environmental well-being.
According to him, the aircraft will support the existing platforms being deployed by other security agencies with which NIMASA has subsisting Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and will assist in patrolling oil facilities, installations and other assets to detect suspicious human and vessel movements in and around them.
Restating the agency’s commitment to a crime-free and secure maritime domain, he reminded participants at the seminar of the Federal Government’s interest in rebuilding stakeholders and investors’ confidence in the country’s maritime sector.
“We shall be deploying our two special mission aircraft for aerial surveillance to prevent and fight oil theft in the country,” a statement from the Assistant Director, Public Relations, Osagie Edward, quoted Jamoh to say.
“With this, we aim at using the aircraft to patrol sensitive areas, record suspicious human and vessel movements to process intelligence for timely action by our security agencies.
“The oil industry is critical to our national economy and no space in the sector should be left for criminals to occupy or operate. We have recorded gains in our maritime security efforts and more needs to be done to sustain and consolidate on these gains.
“Our collaboration with security agencies which we have MoUs with is, among other reasons, to collaborate and work ahead of criminal elements. I am happy to state that our synergies have been beneficial to the country in many ways.”