To ensure safe shipping on the nation’s territorial waters, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) carried out flag state inspections on about 5,274 vessels as part of its safety initiatives in 2012.
Idris Umar, minister of Transport, who disclosed this in Abuja last week while highlighting the mid-term achievements of the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, said that NIMASA also carried out port state inspections on 595 vessels and conditional survey of 507 vessels.
Umar also said that the Agency carried out 168 search and rescue intervention, and arrested 53 vessels for oil theft and piracy in the year under review. NIMASA, according to him, has remained steadfast in enhancing maritime safety and security on the nation’s territorial waters.
“In order to effectively curtail piracy, armed robbery and other maritime crimes at sea, the, Agency engaged a service provider, Messrs. Global West Vessels Specialist to provide platform which includes patrol and enforcement boats and electronic software to enforce its mandate.
Here, the service provider is expected to provide a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 boats; 13 armoured boats, but 12 conventional boats have been procured, bringing the current total fleet of NIMASA to 25 boats while three additional armored boats are expected in the next few months, the Minister added.
He said that there is an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy (NN) to ensure safety and security of lives and property on the waterways, with NIMASA expected to provide the platform and logistics, while the Navy is to provide armed personnel in line with its constitutional mandate to patrol the waterways.
Umar said that six marine accidents were recorded in the country between February 11, 2011, and January 9, 2012.
He also disclosed that three armed robbery incidents, and two vessel hijackings in which two people were killed and seven others rescued, were recorded over the past one year.