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 NIMASA in the last three years under Jamoh’s administration…a maritime reality check

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has recorded landmark achievements in the last three years, particularly in the area of maritime security, which earned Nigeria removal from the International Maritime Bureau’s Red List.

With Dr. Bshir Jamoh as the director general, the agency has succeeded in having Mr. President sign into law the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Related Offences (SPOMO), which has made convictions possible and serving as a deterrent to would-be criminals.

The Gulf of Guinea region has in reality experienced significant reduction in piracy and kidnappings.

As has been established, the Deep Blue project was created to “establish a sustainable architecture for improved maritime safety and security through increased monitoring and compliance enforcement within Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), with a view to effectively tackling the challenges of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.”

With 254 personnel drawn from Military and paramilitary organizations, a breakdown of the Deep Blue project assets as given by NIMASA and classified into three, shows that the Marine Assets include Special Mission Vessels – 2 (DB Abuja and DB Lagos); Fast Intervention Boats – 17. The Air Assets are; Special Mission Helicopters 3, Special Mission Aircrafts 2, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The Land Assets include Armored Vehicles – 17.

The facilities, according to the Agency, include – Command, Control, Computer, Communication and Intelligence (C4i) Centre, Training Facilities (Shooting Range, C4i Training Centre etc.). There have been various training for all personnel in the deep blue project on the assets and facilities.

The new security architecture of the Deep Blue Project contributed to the reduction in the piracy cases, with only one piracy case as at May 2022, 6 cases in 2021 from 35 cases in 2020 and in 2019 respectively.

In the area of maritime safety, NIMASA, guided by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has  adopted the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention to ensure the safety of those involved, taking into consideration enabling legislations in the enforcement of maritime safety conventions.

Considering shipping development as a critical aspect of its overall administration of the maritime industry, has expressed commitment to ensuring a conducive environment for commercial shipping and encouraging more indigenous participation in the global shipping trade.

With the presidential approval given for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), the agency has been holding talks with key stakeholders with a promise for actualising this by the second quarter of 2023.

It is hoped that if and when the CVFF disbursement is carried out, more indigenous ship owners would be empowered to participate significantly the commercial shipping business.

Industry players believe that the CVFF disbursement would make possible fleet expansion, some degree of shipbuilding and ship repairs operations being done locally.

NIMASA also disclosed that in order to boost its Flag and Port State Administration, at the inception of the administration, it has built seven brand new bullet proof boats, which it hopes to take delivery of before the end of March 2023.  And in a similar vein, it has built two brand new search and base clinic of international standard at Azare Crescent, Apapa and Kirikiri.

The Agency has recorded significant developments by the engagement of youths to work as Marine Litter Marshals, an initiative that has further deter forms of criminalities on the waterways.

In the area of education, the Agency introduced the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), for capacity development programme. In like manner, the Agency improved its interface with the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron in Akwa Ibom, and undertaking its statutory responsibility of the funding to the Academy.

According to the NIMASA scorecard, skill acquisition centres have been created across six geopolitical zones covering the South-West – Lagos, in the South-East- Anambra, the South-South – Bayelsa, the North-East – Maiduguri, Borno state; for North-West – Kaduna State, and for North Central- Kwara.

The Agency noted that the skill acquisition centers have been training younger Nigerians on different aspects of professional skills that can enable them fit into different areas of jobs.

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