By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N2.7billion for the clearing of outstanding security assets of the deep blue project.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh stated this at a recent meeting of the SHADE Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum which held virtually.
The Deep Blue Project is the first integrated maritime security strategy in West and Central Africa with the aim of tackling the incidences of piracy, sea robbery, and other crimes at sea
Dr Jamoh said that apart from the N2.7billion, the FEC had earlier approved N6.3billion as logistics support for the deep blue assets.
He expressed hopes that with the tireless effort of the Nigerian Navy, the nation would witness expanded deployment and more robust operational presence of both air and surface assets by the second quarter of 2022.
Speaking, he said “We are on the verge of taking delivery of outstanding additional assets and platforms, haven completed all essential trainings for our personnel.
“In the last meeting, I made mention of the approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the logistics support for the assets to the tune of N6.3billion.
“I am happy to announce that I am just coming from another Federal Executive Council meeting that approved N2.7billion for the clearing of the remaining assets
“We hope that before the end of this quarter, the entire assets of the deep blue project would be available. We are hopeful that with the tireless effort of the Nigerian Navy, we should witness expanded deployment and more robust operational presence of both air and surface assets”
Dr Jamoh reiterated the need for collaboration among international and regional navies and states, saying that unilateral action of Navies in the Gulf of Guinea does not serve the interest of seafarers and it undermine the trust in any partnership.
“To make our framework more sustainable, collabortion is an imperative, corporation must be the watchword, coordination must under-pin every effort and communication must be collective” he said
The Deep Blue Project, which was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Federal Ministry of Defence, is being implemented by NIMASA.
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. The sea assets include two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats. The air assets comprise two Special Mission Aircraft for surveillance of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue operations; and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.