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Patrol vessel assets and rentals under scrutiny
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Patrol vessel assets and rentals under scrutiny

Addressing security in Nigerian waters

NIGERIA: In a move to end the costs associated with the rental of six intervention vessels, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has proposed to refurbish State-owned platforms at the Nigerian Naval Dockyard.

In a Tweet last week, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, pledged to have the vessels back up and in service. “We are reviving our vessels for enforcement purposes. When we came in, our boats & outgoing platforms were down; immediately sent them for drydocking at the naval dockyard. They will soon be fully back in service; saving us huge rental costs,” he tweeted, adding that plans are in place to acquire further vessels.

The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Transportation has proposed spending almost US$23 million on the rental of six fast intervention boats from six different companies for a year at US$10,500 a day:

  • Pearl H.P.W Limited,
  • Thamson Energy Services Limited,
  • Fairway Offshore Limited,
  • Aquashield Oil and Marine Services Limited,
  • XPO Marine Services Limited and
  • Peace Marine and Energy Limited. 

Deep Blue Project under scrutiny

Nigeria’s Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure strategy, also knowns as the Deep Blue Project (DBP), was established as a result of increasing maritime crimes in the region during 2019. A report on Stable Seas pegs the cost of the DBP at around US$195 million – a State spend that aims to reduce the need for private security operators in Nigerian waters.

As recently as December last year, however, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, threatened to withhold further monies due to the project based on an inspection tour of the project equipment in Lagos. He cautioned that if the Nigerian Navy did not undertake training on the operations of the fast intervention vessels as well as a number of other conditions, the balance would not be paid.

He stated: “The boats were not meant to be equipped with arms because it is against IMO regulations. NIMASA cannot do without the Navy; consequently the Navy should know everything about the vessels. There is too much secrecy in involved in the operations of the vessels. We will not pay the second part of the money until the Naval personnel are fully trained.” 

A local news report quotes a Croatian Captain who was in the country to oversee a three-month training programme who alleged that his intended three-month secondment had crept to a total of 15 months. At the time he was making plans to return home without having had completed the intended training.

A number of assets have already been acquired under the DBP with the final assets arriving in Nigeria in March this year. A Special Mission Aircraft procured from Bird Aerosystems in Israel was delivered to provide aerial surveillance of Nigerian waters shortly after the delivery of Special Mission Helicopters.

“These NIMASA Special Mission Helicopters will (operate) alongside the Special Mission Aircrafts & UAV Drone System (which) collectively constitute the air component of our Integrated Maritime Security architecture. We're committed to policing our waters for our economic prosperity,” tweeted Jamoh at the end of last month.

MONTHLY BREAKDOWN OF MARITIME INCIDENTS IN NIGERIA'S EEZ FROM JAN - MARCH 2021
INCIDENT JAN FEB MAR
Piracy 2 0 1
Sea Robbery 1 1 0
TOTALS 3 1 1
MONTHLY BREAKDOWN OF MARITIME INCIDENTS OUTSIDE NIGERIA'S EEZ FROM JAN - MARCH 2021
INCIDENT JAN FEB MAR
Piracy 4 5 1
Sea Robbery 2 2 4
TOTALS 6 7 5
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