The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh has revealed that due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, the Deep Blue Project, also known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, which aims to comprehensively tackle insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Gulf of Guinea is yet to take-off.
This was revealed in Lagos when the NIMASA DG played host to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), Rear Admiral Fredrick Ogu, at the agency’s headquarters.
According to the NIMASA DG, “Most of our Deep Blue Project assets are already in the country and most of these assets, like the Special Mission Vessels and aircraft, would be manned and commanded by the officers of the Nigerian Navy. What is causing a little delay in the deployment is the training component because some of these training would be done outside the shores of the country. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a little delay in the training program.”
On training procedure, Bashir Jamoh revealed that plans are at an advanced stage to harmonise the training procedures of the NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy for improved safety and security of the country’s maritime space.
Bashir pointed out that a large chunk of the agency’s budget went into the training of its workforce, adding that other stakeholders, including the Nigerian Navy, also benefit from training programmes facilitated by NIMASA in the overall interest of the maritime sector.
He said NIMASA would also look in the direction of naval facilities and how to harmonise the training guidelines to meet the standards required by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for certification.
Earlier in his comments, Ogu, who was appointed FOC, Naval Training Command, in June, reiterated the need for NIMASA and the Navy to work together closely in training and on other fronts.