…refurbished vessels, others to improve operational efficiency–Jamoh
Having been seemingly abandoned for several years the controversial Tompolo’s Norwegian armored fast-speed attack vessels have been refurbished and redeployed for security/search rescue duties in the Nigerian territorial waters.
This good news was broken by the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR on Sunday in Lagos.
The occasion was the commissioning of the refurbished security vessels alongside several newly acquired search/rescue vessels and a ferry boat for transporting NIMASA staff; including other important maritime assets by the Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mua’zu Jaji Sambo.
The Norwegian Naval boats were acquired in 2014 on behalf NIMASA by its contractor, Global West Vessel Specialists Limited (GWVSNL), a company which the former Niger Delta militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpomunpolo, also known as Tompolo is believed to have substantial stake in.
Among the said decommissioned naval patrol boats were six fast-speed Hauk-class guided missile boats, now re-armed with new weapons and used then for anti-piracy patrol in the Nigerian waters.
Announcing the deployment of the platforms on Sunday, the NIMASA DG said, “Beyond the strides at overcoming maritime crime at the Gulf of Guinea, the management and safety of the Nigerian Inland Waterways equally deserves attention as NIMASA is committed to ensuring the waterways are safe for local transportation and other leisure activities so that more internal revenues are generated.
“It is important to keep the inland waterways free of waste and pollutants so as to ensure they remain navigable in addition to keeping them secured from perpetrators of maritime crime.
“Notwithstanding the foregoing giant strides and the current state of security, the golden rule is that one must be persistent to remain successful. It is within the bearing of this frame of mind that we hinge the significance of today’s launching of the following: Five new patrol/security boats; Five refurbished search and rescue/pollution control boats; The commissioning of search and rescue clinic; and the commissioning of an administrative building,” he said.
According to him, the inclusion of the inclusion of the security/patrol boats along with the search and rescue/pollution control boats to the Deep Blue Project assets are particularly with intent to intensify the internal security of the waterways with the inclusion of the pollution control boats taking into cognizance the recent proliferation of oil theft.
He said the Search and Rescue clinic has also become quite important as cases of seafarers who experience attack need emergency medical attention and “we have to be prompt so as to ensure their safety and survival.” He added that the Search and Rescue Clinic is manned by highly skilled medical personnel and the same gives us confidence with regards to guaranteeing survival.
Jamoh restated that these new assets and building is an exhibition of the fact that the Federal Government is relentless and persistent in the fight against maritime crime while strengthening the blue economy of Nigeria
Before inaugurating the assets, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo said that they are directly tied to the mission of NIMASA which is to achieve and sustain safe, secure shipping, cleaner oceans and enhanced maritime capacity in line with the best global practices towards Nigeria’s economic development.
He said that the state-of-the-art enforcement platforms will ensure strict compliance and adherence with the extant laws governing the operations of the nation’s maritime domain. Adding that these platforms will give NIMASA the much-needed tools required to function as a Maritime Administration in line with the protocols and conventions of the International Maritime Organisation and International Labour Organisation to which NIMASA represents Nigeria as its contracting government.