In a move that will see the federal government take total control of the country’s maritime security, which includes anchorage, where all vessels calling at the various ports across the country berth, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) yesterday said the $195 million Deep Blue Project will handle all security matters when it commences.
Known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure or the Deep Blue Project, the security structure is designed to secure all anchorage areas in the Nigerian maritime domain.
As part of the project, the federal government had last year awarded $195 million maritime security contract to an Israeli firm, HLSI Security Systems and Technologies Limited.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday after a meeting with the Executive Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) led by the Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, at the agency’s headquarters, the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, said the move would reduce the cost of shipping of goods into the country.
Also, the NPA boss disclosed that both agencies have agreed to work out modalities for effective removal of all wrecks and derelicts that may hinder navigations in the Nigerian waters.
NPA and NIMASA, she stated, are sister agencies, and should be seen to be collaborating more for the growth of the maritime industry and the country generally.
She also disclosed that arrangements are in top gear to berth the NIMASA floating dockyard permanently in order for it to commence operations in July.
According to her, “We had a range of discussions bordering on the Secure Anchorage Area which our supervising ministry desires the Deep Blue Project to provide security for all anchorage areas in the country. Aside saving the country a lot of money, it will ensure that the security of the Nigerian maritime domain is given a focal attention.”
Hadiza also disclosed that both agencies agreed to interlink the C3i of the NPA and C4i of NIMASA in order to interchange information that would assist the Nigerian Navy’s response to insecurity.
“We have the C3i Command, Control and Intelligence centre at NPA, and NIMASA has the C4i, while the Navy has falcon eye. We need to interlink these facilities, and we believe that this would assist the country in response to maritime security threats,” she said.
Also speaking, Jamoh reiterated the fact that there was need to harmonise most of the working models among all maritime agencies to avoid duplication of duties which also leads to more costs.
Jamoh said the Secure Anchorage Area, which has been a subject of debate among stakeholders would now be covered under the multi spectrum security architecture popularly known as the Deep Blue Project.
“There is absolutely no need for us to have private security in our maritime space. 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 said.