FG commissions platforms to ensure compliance, adherence with operations of Maritime Domain extant laws


By Abiodun OBA

The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo on Sunday commissioned five state-of-the-art Enforcement Platforms that will ensure strict compliance and adherence with the extant laws governing the operations of Maritime Domain.

The platforms are expected to give Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the much-needed tools required to function as a Maritime Administration in line with the protocols and conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The minister commissioned five new Patrol/Security Boats, five refurbished Search and Rescue/Pollution Control Boats, Search and Rescue Clinic and an Administrative Building all executed by NIMASA under its Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.

According to Mr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, “We are gathered here today in continuation of the Commissioning of Completed projects by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

“Today’s ceremony serves to further reinforce our commitment, as the projects to be commissioned are directly tied to the mission of NIMASA which is to achieve and sustain safe, secure shipping, cleaner oceans and enhanced maritime capacity in line with the best global practices towards Nigeria’s economic development.

“To be commissioned here today are five state-of-the-art Enforcement Platforms that will ensure strict compliance and adherence with the extant laws governing the operations of our Maritime Domain.

“These platforms will give NIMASA the much-needed tools required to function as a Maritime Administration in line with the protocols and conventions of the International Maritime Organization and International Labour Organization to which NIMASA represents Nigeria as its contracting government.

“Additionally, we shall be commissioning 4 Staff Ferries. These Ferries were acquired to increase the overall efficiency and productivity of the staff of the Agency, by creating a more conducive means of transportation to and from official assignments, thereby bypassing the hassles that are associated with the operational terrain of the Ports.

“We shall also be commissioning other key NIMASA infrastructures such as the renovated Administrative Block, the NIMASA Multipurpose Hall and the NIMASA Search and Rescue Clinic of the Nigerian Maritime Resources Development Centre, in addition to the NIMASA Search and Rescue Base Clinic at Azare Crescent Apapa, and Communication Gadgets for enhanced maritime security. After which we shall proceed to the groundbreaking at the construction site of the NIMASA Skill Acquisition Centre, Lagos.

“The completion of the just mentioned projects by NIMASA shows the agency’s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of Nigerian waters, as the newly renovated Administrative block will create a conducive work environment, thereby increasing the productivity of the staff, the Search and Rescue Clinics will enable the agency to fulfil its obligations to seafarers and the general public by providing top-notch medical care facilities, and the newly acquired Communication Gadgets will enable the agency’s enforcement and search and rescue operators communicate in real-time without any hindrance or interference while conducting their operations at sea.”

In his presentation during the commissioning programme, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh reckoned that attaining a Blue Economy is pivotal to the growth and development of the nation.

“It was equally important that while we had our vision set on achieving something great, we simultaneously took cognizance of the damaging impact that piracy, kidnapping of seafarers, smuggling, illegal oil bunkering, robbery at sea and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing has had on our maritime profile.

“The Gulf of Guinea which Nigeria is a major stakeholder was notorious for piratical attacks and used to be referred to as the “world’s hotspot” for piracy.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2634 which called for a crackdown on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

“By the year 2022, cases of piracy and other maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea had significantly reduced as only about 3 cases of piracy were recorded while none of the cases was attributable to Nigeria. The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center (IMB PRC) regarded this as a positive trend.

“This equally meant that the year 2022 was a successful year for Nigeria in the fight against piracy and other maritime crime and same should be regarded as a milestone for the Buhari-led administration.

“The success of 2022 can only be credited to the tremendous effort of the Federal Government in terms of provision of infrastructures which is best enveloped as the Deep Blue Project.

“The Deep Blue project is a $195 million investment towards vessels, Maritime Domain Awareness platforms, and land and air and sea assets.

The land assets comprise the Command, Control, Computer, Communication, and Intelligence (C4i) Centre for domain awareness and intelligence gathering, 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol, and a 600-strong Maritime Security Unit specially trained for interdiction.

“There is no Gainsaying that the project is the most significant commitment by any Gulf of Guinea country to date and the impact is crystal clear for all to see.

Beyond the strides at overcoming maritime crime at the Gulf of Guinea, the management and safety of the Nigerian Inland Waterways equally deserves attention as NIMASA is committed to ensuring the waterways are safe for local transportation and other leisure activities so that more internal revenues are generated.

“It is important to keep the inland waterways free of waste and pollutants so as to ensure they remain navigable in addition to keeping them secured from perpetrators of maritime crime.

Notwithstanding the foregoing giant strides and the current state of security, the golden rule is that one must be persistent to remain successful.

It is within the bearing of this frame of mind that we hinge the significance of today’s launching of the following: Five new Patrol/Security Boats, Five Refurbished Search and Rescue/Pollution Control Boats, The Commissioning of Search and Rescue Clinic, and the Commissioning of an Administrative Building.

“The inclusion of the Security/Patrol boats along with the Search and Rescue/Pollution control boats to the Deep Blue Project assets are particularly with intent to intensify the internal security of the waterways with the inclusion of the Pollution control boats taking into cognizance the recent proliferation of oil theft.”

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