Determined to rid the nation’s waters of criminal activities, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA (NIMASA) and Nigerian Navy have taken delivery of the Special Mission Vessels under the Deep Blue Project.
The vessels, DB Lagos and DB Abuja, which were brought into the country recently, are equipped with sophisticated intelligence gathering capability for timely detection and response to illegal activities in the Nigerian maritime domain.
“Piracy is an act inimical to the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and we are prepared, more than ever before, to give it all it takes to end this nefarious act,” said Ibok Ete-Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff.
Represented by the Chief Security Officer, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Murtala Bashir, he stated that the officers who would man the vessels will be given adequate training under the Deep Blue Project to enable them utilise the special features of the vessels adequately for combating maritime illegalities.
On his part, Dakuku Peterside, director general of NIMASA said pirates and other criminals on the country’s maritime domain up to the Gulf of Guinea would soon meet their waterloo, with the arrival and installation of these critical assets under the Deep Blue Project.
Peterside, who was represented by executive director, Operations, Rotimi Fashakin, disclosed that aside these two special mission vessels, 10 Fast Interceptor Boats have also arrived the country and seven more are expected later in the year.
“Today marks a new dawn for a more secure and stable maritime environment in Nigeria. This milestone in asset delivery inches us closer to full operational take-off of the Deep Blue Project, hence it marks a huge victory for the Nigerian maritime sector in the fight against maritime insecurity,” he said.
He said the DB Abuja and DB Lagos, which were built to be intelligently operated, also served as mother vessels to Fast Intervention crafts that are able to respond to distress calls swiftly. “Each of the interceptor boats has a combined engine capacity of 900HP and can do up to 55 nautical miles and would be commanded by a Navy captain with full complement of naval personnel.
Recall that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) granted approval for a holistic maritime security architecture, which is a multi-pronged approach towards fighting piracy. Aside the sea assets, there are also land and air assets, which are still expected in the country before the end of the year.