- Some of the boats on arrival
By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has taken delivery of additional mobile assets, including two unmanned aircraft systems, nine interceptor patrol boats and 10 armoured vehicles, for its Deep Blue Project to enhanced maritime security.
NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the additional equipment will improve the gains recorded in securing the Gulf of Guinea and Nigerian maritime domain, according to a statement from the agency’s Head of Public Relations, Mr. Edward Osagie.
He described the recently held Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum (GOG-MCF/SHADE) in Abuja as a success in rallying international support for the suppression of maritime insecurity, adding that Nigeria’s commitment to regional maritime security will always be sustained.
Jamoh recommended the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, already in application in Nigeria, as a robust statute that supports maritime law enforcement, which other countries are considering to replicate.
“Nigeria is improving on her capacity to fight maritime crime by procuring state-of-the-art technology, upgrading human capacity for effective service delivery and deploying the assets for round-the-clock patrol, interdiction and reconnaissance with the support of Nigerian Navy and other security agencies we signed MoU with,” Jamoh said.
“Indeed, we are further encouraged to ensure adequate security of crew members, vessels and cargoes within and around our waters
“These newly procured assets would assist us in building on the gains already recorded in the fight against piracy, sea robbery, oil theft, kidnapping, illegal fishing activities and others.”
The main objective of the Deep Blue Project is to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea. The project has three categories of platforms to tackle maritime security on land, sea and air.
The land assets include the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) for intelligence gathering and data collection, 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol, and 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit.
Before the recently procured platforms, the deep blue project had sea assets including two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats.