NIMASA To Expand Deep Blue Asset Over Sea Territorial Boundary Extension

NIMASA To Expand Deep Blue Asset Over Sea Territorial Boundary Extension
Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dayo Mobereola (left) Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan during the Maritime Security Unit Operational Maritime Capability Demonstration exercise in Lagos on Friday, last week.

 

With the approval of the United Nations for Nigeria to extend its continental shelf by 16,300 square kilometres, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dayo Mobereola has harped on the need to expand the scope of the existing $195million Deep Blue Project and increase its assets in other to cover the newly acquired maritime territory.

NIMASA, the nation’s maritime administration, has also assured, that operations of the Deep Blue Project security personnel would extend to other countries in the Gulf of Guinea.

The NIMASA DG, Dr Mobereola stated this at the Maritime Security Unit (MSU) Operational Maritime Capability Demonstration held at the Navy Town, Ojo Lagos on Friday,last week..

During the exercise, the Maritime Security Unit (MSU) of the agency displayed a simulation of their maneuvering skills which included; boat formations, vessel boarding and overtake with interceptors boats and helicopters, rappelling descended from a helicopter, fast rope descended from helicopter, hostage rescue and deck landing.

Dr Mobereola witnessed the exercise alongside the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, Acting Chairman, House Committee on Marine, Hon Uduak Odudoh, executive directors of NIMASA among others.

Speaking with journalists at the end of the exercise, Dr Mobereola acknowledged the need for the Deep Blue assets and manpower to be increased in line with the expansion of Nigeria’s continental shelf.

“We are going to expand, Nigeria has increased its continental shelf from 200 to 220nautical miles, and we need to cover that 220 and beyond, the 220NM is what is legally ours, but we can cover beyond that to 350NM as much as we can.

“We would be making a case to the Minister and to the President to assist the Deep Blue Project to support in terms of more equipment for us to be able to cover the whole of the Nigerian territorial waters, and lend support to the Gulf of Guinea so that the while region would be pirate free, sea robbery free, and all kinds of incursion happening on our waterways would come to an end.

“The Deep Blue Project has been commissioned by the Federal Government to cub piracy and sea robbery and it is working well, so much so that we have been recognised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and we have been taken off from the Piracy list, there has been no report of piracy on Nigerian waters for the past 2-years.

“The aim is to continue to sustain it and even expand it to cover other areas and help neighboring countries as well, because the more we protect their waters the more we protect ourselves.

“We would continue to encourage the personnel of the Deep Blue Project with all the assets equipment required, and encourgae the crew who have done marvelously well to continue to do more” he said

The NIMASA boss while addressing the MSU personnel, said he was highly impressed by their display of courage, knowledge, understanding and abilities.

“Keep it up, and we on our own side would continue to support you as much as humanly possible with all the resources required to carry out your work. We know that your task is daunting, and I am acknowledging it openly that you are the best in Africa, and in the Gulf of Guinea, there is nobody that can compare with you.

“Please don’t reduce your efforts as we count on you to make the maritime space more secured, the President of Nigeria is counting on you, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola is also in support of your project” he said

On his part, the Acting Chairman, House Committee on Maritime, Hon Uduak Odudoh commended the Deep Blue Project, saying that the feats recorded so far has placed Nigeria on a high international pedestal on maritime security.

He assured that the lawmakers would double it is efforts in order to grant NIMASA the needed budgetary support and approvals in order to sustain the gains so far recorded through the Deep Blue Project.

“At the IMO Conference which I had the opportunity to attend last year, Nigeria was greatly commended for the fact that there has not been any pirate attack on our waters in 2-years, that feat was achieved with the effort of the Deep Blue Project.

“When I looked at the budget, I saw Deep Blue Project management and sustainability, I want to commend NIMASA for this.
However it is pitiful that that only NIMASA is funding this project, if we have a project like this and it is taken seriously, the issue of oil theft in the Niger Delta would reduce to zero.

“We have no option than to look at the budget, if they require for more funds, we would approve it for the benefit of suppression of security challenges in Nigeria. If maritime security is guaranteed, the revenue of NIMASA would increase, and by extension, that of NPA and others, this means more money for Nigeria.

“As far as we are concerned at National Assembly, the DG should bring additional proposals and we would approve it for the benefit of the agency and Nigerians” Hon Uduak Odudoh stated.

Other highpoint of the event was the NIMASA DG’s unveiling of the aircrew accommodation renovated by the Deep Blue Project, followed by the commissioning of the interceptors marine workshop.

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