Home » Navy clears air on deployment of NIMASA’s Deep Blue assets

Navy clears air on deployment of NIMASA’s Deep Blue assets

by Samson Echenim

The Nigerian Navy has finally clarified that assets acquired by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise known as the Deep Blue project have been deployed across the South West, Central and Eastern Zonal operations to enhance patrol of the Nigerian maritime domain.

The Acting Fleet Commander, Western Naval Command and Commander Deep Blue Project, Commodore Victor Choji revealed this during a working visit by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mohammed Abdullahi to the Management of NIMASA.

He added that the Nigerian Navy, under the leadership of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, is committed to the success of the Deep Blue Project.

Choji was quoted in a statement by NIMASA’s spokesman, Osagie Edward as saying that, “The assets have already been well deployed. As we speak, five armoured vehicles are deployed in Port Harcourt and three in Bonny. The project team deployed 10 more vehicles there, in addition to a drone unit in Bonny and some personnel.”

He further hinted that during the last general elections in the country, the mere presence of deep blue assets in those locations provided the needed inference that was required.

Choji also said the Navy had deployed three units of special mission elements in brass and two of the interceptor boats with the special intervention force elements in the central command.

“In Lagos, just last week, we got a directive that there is a requirement and we are about to deploy two interceptor boats to support the operations that are ongoing in Lagos Inland waters. I can state categorically that we have the full backing of the Nigerian Navy for the success of the Deep Blue Project,” he stressed.

Also commenting on the progress made so far on the project, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, OFR, noted that the assets acquired by the agency under the Deep Blue Project are all managed by a project team headed by a Commodore of the Nigerian Navy.

He restated the Agency’s commitment to a robust relationship with the Nigerian Navy towards the economic development of the country.

“I believe that the Agency and the Nigerian Navy have a lot in common to ensure safety and security in the nation’s waters. While the Nigerian Navy takes care of the kinetic operations, NIMASA concentrates on non-kinetic operations, and the two will have to go hand in hand if we must succeed. If you look at the armed forces act, the Nigerian Navy has a role to play in ensuring the implementation and enforcement of the NIMASA and Customs & Excise act”, he said.

Jamoh expressed the desire of NIMASA to earn full value for funds invested and still investing in the operations of the Deep Blue Project. He also noted that the Agency is in constant liaison with the National Assembly to ensure an update of the nation’s maritime laws with particular reference to the Merchant Shipping Act to guarantee adequate punitive measures are in the law to deter criminalities on Nigerian waters.

While commending the Nigerian Navy for their efforts in tracking erring vessels which switched off their Automatic Identification System, AIS, in Nigerian waters, Jamoh called for improved synergy amongst all organs of Government in the maritime sector. Particularly, the Nigerian Navy and the marine arm of the Nigerian Police to quickly tackle head on; pockets of recent criminalities in the Lagos anchorage and inland waters.

Former president Muhammadu Buhari, had in June 2022, commissioned the Deep Blue Project, an interministerial effort executed by the Ministries of Transport and Defence to curb oil theft and piracy I the sea. The project was implemented by NIMASA.

Jamoh had said, “With the deployment of the assets of the Deep Blue Project, we are entering another level of national security designed for total spectrum maritime security and better domain awareness using some of the latest technology.

“This effort to secure our waters would give Nigerians more leverage to harness the enormous resources of our maritime environment and aid the drive towards economic diversification.”

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.

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