Minister of Transportation, Mauzu Sambo has said that the training of Deep Blue Project’s enforcement officer is not only critical for the nation’s maritime security but will also ensure maximising capacity usage of the platforms acquired for the project.
The minister who disclosed this at the Amry Barracks Elele, Rivers State over the weekend at the graduation ceremony of the Maritime Security Unit, MSU, and Unmanned Aircraft System UAS trainees for Deep Blue Project, charged the graduands to be dedicated and focused on the task of securing the nation’s maritime domain.
He charged the 126 graduands to ensure that the platforms are properly maintained even as he assured graduates that “issues of your welfare will be fully addressed.
Sambo further noted that the MSU is expected to focus on four main areas which he listed as preventing illegal activities in the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, enforcement of maritime regulations, enhancing the safety of lives at sea and prevention of illegal activities in the Niger Delta area 9the backwaters) at sea and inland waterways.
According to him, “An intelligence mapping of the activities of pirates and sea criminals revealed that most pirates and sea robbery attacks are planned on land, executed on Land and the proceeds are also taken to the land.
“Therefore, the activities of the Maritime Security Unit, especially their logistics which is made possible by the armoured personnel carriers’ technicians are very critical and indispensable in the entire Deep Blue Architecture due to their role in dismantling the operational structures of these criminals.
“You might wish to know that the conclusion of this course brings to the fore, a total number of 126, batch three graduands comprising 94 Maritime Security Unit, 22 UAVs, 10 armoured mechanics and technicians.
In all, the three batches so far have produced a total of 337 graduates including 24 foreign-trained pilots.
“You will agree with me that regardless of how good and accurate intelligence is, it will require some degree of intervention to comprehensively forestall, or address the situation.
The intelligence provided by the various platforms of the Deep Blue are acted upon by the maritime Security Unit but the armoured vehicle technicians facilitate the prompt movement of troops to confront the criminals.
“The armoured personnel carrier is very strategic and crucial for the entire Deep Blue Operation, especially its role in extracting and preserving evidence for the prosecution of criminals.
In the last few months, you have been subjected to various training modules and tactical maneuver operations.
“You have offered yourselves wholly to this course even in the most discomforting moments and circumstances to ensure that this Project succeeds. The Federal Government, particularly NIMASA does not take your sacrifices lightly.
“I want you to always remember that the Deep Blue Project was initiated to achieve the following objectives: Prevention of illegal activities in the Nigerian EEZ, Enforcement of maritime regulations, Enhancing the safety of lives at sea, and Prevention of illegal activities in the Niger Delta area, (the backwaters) at sea and inland waterway.”
Speaking earlier at the event, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, said that the men and women of the MSU are complementing the efforts of the nation’s military, especially the Navy.
The NIMASA boss expressed happiness over the level of collaboration between the various government agencies with a focus on Nigeria rather than their personal interest.
He also noted the deployment of the DSP has yielded positive results like the removal of Nigeria from the list of countries with dangerous waters by the international community in March.
He said that MSU personnel “Remain at sea all the time sacrificing their lives for our safety and safety of trade.” He however stressed that it is “Not fair to continue to charge Nigeria the war risk insurance” despite the improvement made so far since the deployment of the DSP, he noted.