- As NIMASA names vessels after Buhari, Folarin, Amaechi, Saraki
As part of efforts to improve maritime security and operations, Nigeria has added enforcement patrol boats and some advanced Communication Gadgets for Maritime Security by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Jaji Sambo who commissioned 5 Refurbished Search and Rescue/Pollution Control Boats, an Administrative Building, Search and Rescue Clinic, today, described the development as reaffirming the nation’s commitment to shipping.
Sambo also commissioned 4 staff ferries in addition to 4 refurbished boats, even as he directed that one of the new boats, named after him, is renamed after the Chairperson, House Committee on Nigerian Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu.
According to the Minister, the new facilities would have tremendous positive impacts on the agency and the entire blue economy of Nigeria especially as the nation seeks more vibrant ways of diversifying its economy.
His words: “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.”
Speaking on the 4 Staff Ferries, he expressed optimism that they will help increase the overall efficiency and productivity of the staff of the agency, cutting the hours wasted on the roads while also bringing them closer to the marine environment.
“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,” he stated.
Earlier, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR, said that in the last three years the agency has been persistent and relentless in the fight against maritime crime and insecurity while also striving at making the nation’s waterways and general maritime ecosystem safe.
“We have from the very beginning of our administration 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 pirate attacks and was 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,” Jamoh said.
According to him, the 5 newly commissioned security boats will further enhance the agency’s fight against piracy and other maritime crimes even as he credited the President Buhari-led administration for the tremendous efforts leading to the provision of infrastructures best enveloped as the Deep Blue Project.
He revealed that the agency named some new boats after President Muhammadu Buhari; former Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi; former Acting Minister of Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki; the present Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Jaji Sambo; Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani; and Late Otunba Kunle Folarin.
On his part, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Tolu Odebiyi expressed delight at the accomplishments by NIMASA and the Transport Ministry, especially on the additional assets to enhance the security of the nation’s maritime domain.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House Committee on Nigerian Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu harped on the need to prioritize the management and judicious use of the assets.
Ikpeazu, however, remarked that that 9th Assembly is proud of the accomplishments in the maritime industry in recent years, even as she commended the agency for honouring Late Otunba Kunle Folarin and the plans to honour Late Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi.
The event was also graced by industry veterans including; the President of Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Alhaji Aminu Umar; Chairman, Starz Marine and Engineering, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun; Chief Executive Officer, Oceanic Energy Limited, Capt. Taiwo Akinpelumi; 2nd Vice President of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) and Assistant Chaplain of the Management Committee of Mission To Seafarers (MTS) Lagos, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori; among others.