The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has received a special mission aircraft under the Deep Blue Project designed to secure the country’s waters up to the Gulf of Guinea.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.
Jamoh said the aircraft was received on Wednesday, in company of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, and NIMASA’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr Chudi Offodile. He said the assets would further improve security in the Nigerian waters.
Jamoh had earlier inspected three Special Mission Helicopters at the Naval Base, Apapa, under the project billed for launch on May 21.
He said there had been a drastic reduction in the rate of attacks in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with the deployment of the Deep Blue Project assets.
According to him, the goal was to eliminate entirely such incidents. He noted that there was a drastic decrease in the rate of security breaches in our waters in recent times.
“This is a clear indication that we are getting it right with the Deep Blue Project.
“The figures we are getting from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) are encouraging. We ultimately aim to completely eradicate security hindrances to shipping and business generally in the Nigerian maritime domain.
“IMB, a specialised division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), is the global focal point in the fight against maritime crimes and malpractices.
The organisation has in recent months reported a consistent year-on-year drop in the number of attacks on ships in Nigerian waters.
“The latest IMB quarterly report of piracy and armed robbery against ships recorded only two incidents in Nigerian waters between January and March this year, compared to 11 attacks within the same period last year.
“These figures are a proof that we can make our waters safe and secure, and we are determined to do so.
“Today, we are here to receive the final phase of assets under the Deep Blue Project to further boost our capacity to secure our waters up to the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
Jamoh said the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, popularly called the Deep Blue Project, was designed with three categories of platforms to tackle maritime security issues on land, sea, and air.
“The land assets comprise the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre for intelligence gathering and data collection; 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol; and about 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit.
“On air, there are two Special Mission Aircrafts for surveillance of the EEZ, one of which was received on May 12 with the second expected to arrive May 18; three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue; and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
“The sea assets consist of two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats,” he said.