The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has promised that two special mission aircraft in the Deep Blue Project fleet will be deployed to fight oil theft.
Its Director~General, Dr Bashir Jamoh, who made this known in a statement in Lagos on Thursday, added that the move would protect the nation’s economy.
He made this known at the recently-held 16th edition of the Maritime Seminar for Judges, organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
According to Jamoh, oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining are unlawful activities threatening the economic and environmental well-being of the country.
He said the aircraft from the mobile assets of the Deep Blue Project would support existing platforms being deployed by other security agencies, which NIMASA had memorandum of understanding with.
Jamoh said that the aircraft would assist in patrolling oil facilities, installations and other assets to observe suspicious human and vessel movements.
Jamoh, while restating the agency’s commitment to a crime-free and secure maritime domain, reminded participants at the seminar of President Muhammadu Buhari’s interest in rebuilding stakeholders and investors’ confidence in the country’s maritime sector.
“Approval of the president for procurement of the assets, his coming to commission them in Lagos, and their deployment for security duties have contributed immensely to the fight against maritime crimes. We shall be deploying our two special mission aircraft for aerial surveillance to prevent and fight oil theft in the country. With this, we aim at using the aircraft to patrol sensitive areas, record suspicious human and vessel movements to process intelligence for timely action by our security agencies.
“The oil industry is critical to our national economy and no space of the sector should be left for criminals to occupy or operate in,” he said.
The director-general said that NIMASA had recorded gains in maritime security efforts but noted that more would need to be done to sustain and consolidate on the gains.