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NIMASA assures shipping firms of safe, secure navigation on Nigerian waters

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has assured shipping companies that it has in partnership with Nigerian Navy, intensified efforts to protect, and deter threats against vessels anchored in the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA), off the coast of Lagos.

Bashir Jamoh, director general of NIMASA, who disclosed this in Lagos during a courtesy visit by the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN), said the new security effort was captured in the deployment of assets under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as Deep Blue Project.

Deep Blue project is aimed at providing security in both Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea in order to tackle the security challenges encumbering shipping business in the region.

“We are deploying high-tech assets under the Deep Blue Project to not only deal with piracy and armed robbery on our territorial waters, but to also respond to the increasing sophistication of these maritime crimes. We are tying up all loose ends and very soon everything would become clear to stakeholders and operators,” Jamoh stated.

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Jamoh, who was responding to the security concerns raised by SAN following the cancellation of the SAA contract by President Muhammadu Buhari and transfer of the responsibility to NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy, said there was no security vacuum on Nigerian waters.

According to Jamoh, the Secure Anchorage Area is more protected than ever before as Nigerian Navy recently deployed 14 warships to enhance security including Special Mission Vessels, interceptor boats, and Special Mission Aircraft, also being deployed under the Deep Blue Project.

“The menace of maritime insecurity is an age-long challenge in the industry, and government is doing its best within the available resources to address the issue. NIMASA is also working with international bodies, such as INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO, to ensure security in the Gulf of Guinea, with the Yaoundé-based International Coordination Centre (ICC) also playing a central role,” he added.

Earlier, Andrew Lynch, managing director of Mediterranean Shipping Company, who doubled as spokesperson of SAN, urged NIMASA management to intensify measures that would maintain security in the SAA.

Also in attendance were representatives of major shipping lines operating in Nigeria, including Ascanio Russo, managing director of Grimaldi Nigeria, Haul Odeyer, managing director of CUA- shipping, as well as representatives of Maersk Nigeria and GAC.

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