Two unmanned aircraft system, nine interceptor patrol boats and 10 armoured vehicles have been added to the assets of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) earlier procured by the Federal Government and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is as NIMASA recently took delivery of additional mobile assets for enhanced maritime security under his deep blue project.
While thanking President Buhari for his sustained support in the fight against sea piracy and other maritime crimes, NIMASA Director General, Dr Bashir Jamoh said the additional equipment would improve on the gains recorded in securing the Gulf of Guinea and Nigerian maritime domain.
Jamoh, who described the recently held Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum in Abuja as successful in rallying international support in the suppression of maritime insecurity, assured that Nigeria’s commitment in regional maritime security would always be sustained.
He recommended the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act emplaced by Nigeria as a robust statute that supports maritime law enforcement, which other countries are considering replicating.
The DG said: “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 deployment of the assets for round the clock patrol, interdiction and reconnaissance with the support of Nigerian Navy and other security agencies we signed MoU.
“Indeed, we are further encouraged by President Muhammadu Buhari’s support all the time 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 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 included two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats.
The air assets comprises of two Special Mission Aircraft for surveillance of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone; three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue operations; and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles amongst others.