The Federal Government has taken delivery of two special mission vessels under its deep blue project as part of efforts aimed at ridding the nation’s waterways of criminal activities.
The vessels, DB Lagos and DB Abuja, which arrived the country on Tuesday and received by officials of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), are said to be equipped with sophisticated intelligence gathering capability for timely detection and response to illegal activities in the maritime domain.
Speaking at the reception of the vessels, the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, said pirates and other criminals in the country’s waterways up to the Gulf of Guinea will soon meet their waterloo with the arrival and installation of the critical assets.
Dakuku, who was represented by the agency’s Executive Director of Operations, Rotimi Fashakin, said aside the two vessels, ten fast interceptor boats have also arrived the country and seven more are expected later in the year. Each of the interceptor boats, he said, has engine capacity of 900HP and can do up to 55knots.
“Today marks a new dawn for a more secure and stable maritime environment in Nigeria. This milestone in asset delivery inches us closer to full operational takeoff of the deep blue project, hence it marks a huge victory for the Nigerian maritime sector in the fight against maritime insecurity,” he said.
Peterside said the DB Abuja and DB Lagos are able to respond to distress calls. He added that each of the vessels would be commanded by a Navy captain with full complement of naval personnel.
Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ete- Ibas said the officers that will man the vessels will be given adequate training.
“Piracy is an act inimical to the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and we are prepared, more than ever before, to give it all it takes to end this nefarious act,” Ibas, who was represented by the Chief Security Officer, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Muritala. Bashir, said.