From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Security for ships waiting in the Nigerian port areas will henceforth be provided by the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, which oversees the nation’s maritime domain, the Federal Government has said.
The new arrangement was agreed in Lagos during a meeting between the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), led by the Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) counterpart, led by the Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman.
According to a statement by the NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications, Philip Kyanet, the both agencies will work out modalities for the effective removal of all wrecks that might hinder navigation in the Nigerian waters.
Usman stressed that NIMASA and NPA, as sister-agencies, should be collaborating more for the growth of the maritime industry and the country generally, adding that arrangements were already at advanced stage to berth the NIMASA floating dockyard permanently to enable it begin operations in July.
“We had a range of discussions bordering on the Secure Anchorage Area. Our supervising ministry desires the Deep Blue Project to provide security for all anchorage areas in the country,” she said.
“Aside saving the country a lot of money, it will ensure that the security of the Nigerian maritime domain is given a focal attention.”
According to her, both agencies also agreed to interlink the NPA’s C3i and NIMASA’s C4i to interchange information that would assist the Nigerian Navy’s response to security issues, since the NPA has the C3i – Command, Control and Intelligence Centre, NIMASA has C4i, while the Navy has Falcon Eye.
On his part, Jamoh restated the need to harmonize most of the working models among all maritime agencies to avoid duplication of duties and further costs. He noted that the Secure Anchorage Area, which desirability had been questioned by stakeholders, would now be covered by the multi-spectrum Deep Blue Project.
“There is absolutely no need for us to have private security in our maritime space,” Jamoh said. “You are aware that this increases the cost of shipping in our country. By the time the Deep Blue Project becomes fully operational, the cost of shipping would drastically reduce.”
He disclosed that the floating dockyard should be operational, adding: “We are finalising arrangements with the NPA to get a permanent berth for the floating dockyard and by the end of July, this facility should be operational.
“The interesting thing is that aside earning a huge amount of revenue, it also has the capacity to employ over 300 Nigerians youths directly.”