The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo on Sunday 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 the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) under it’s Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
Speaking during the commissioning of the projects on Sunday, the Minister of Transportation said that the 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 (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
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 comprises the Command, Control, Computer, Communication, and Intelligence (C4i) Centre for domain awareness and intelligence gathering, 16 armored 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.”
The Search and Rescue clinic has also become quite important as cases of seafarers who experience attack need emergency medical attention and we have to be prompt so as to ensure their safety and survival. The Search and Rescue Clinic is manned by specially skilled medical personnel and same gives us the confidence with regards to guaranteeing the survival. The administrative building on the other hand is built with intent to improve the service delivery of NIMASA for efficient shipping activities particularly as NIMASA is targeting an improved ship registry.
state more significant things the launched assets and commissioned building will introduce and other features, Ladies and Gentlemen these new assets and building is an exhibition of the fact that the Federal Government is relentless and persistent in the fight against maritime crime. while strengthening the blue economy of Nigeria and I should at this point express gratitude to the same set of persons that I appreciated just few days ago while we commissioned the NIMASA Complex in Abuja. As I always maintain, words are never enough in thanking Mr. President, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and as he leaves office after meritoriously and dedicatedly serving this nation yet again for eight long years, I pray that Almighty God thank you for us and grant you tranquility. I also repeat my appreciation of the 9th National Assembly for their impact on the success of NIMASA in the fight against piracy and other maritime crime both within Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. In the same vein, I thank the Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo and I also thank all the NIMASA Staff along with the support team of the Deep Blue Project from the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies as well as all the members of the Joint Working Group. Please let it be known that the success recorded in the fight against maritime insecurity in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea is a success of all of us as a team. I congratulate you all because due to our persistency, we are not defeated and I heartily say thank you once again.
Add more people to thank as can be seen in the audience.
As we launch these new assets, I urge all the officers that will be assigned to utilize them to bear in mind that they are national assets and are to make the best use of them while bearing in mind the need for proper maintenance. I accordingly dedicate all the assets to be launched and the building to be commissioned to the Glory of God. God bless you all and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.