Reps seek alternative funding for Deep Blue project

Reps seek alternative funding for Deep Blue project


The House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration has called for seeking alternate sources of funding for the Federal Government Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure Project, also known as the Deep Blue project.

The Deep Blue project is domiciled under the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and currently funded by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Acting Chairman of the committee, Uduak Odudoh, while speaking in Lagos weekend, acknowledged that the Deep Blue project has played a significant role in maintaining security in Nigerian waters in recent years.

He said the partnership between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy partnership has elevated the country to a high international standing in maritime security but noted the imperative of seeking alternative source of funds to sustain the project.

“At the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) onference last year, Nigeria was greatly commended for the fact that there has not been any pirate attack on our waters in two years. That feat was achieved through the efforts of the Deep Blue project. When I looked at the budget, I saw provisions for Deep Blue project management and sustainability.

“I want to commend NIMASA for this. However, it is pitiful that only NIMASA is funding this project. If a project like this is taken seriously, the issue of oil theft in the Niger Delta would be reduced to zero.

“We have no option than to look at the budget, if they require more funds, we would approve it for the benefit of suppression of security challenges in Nigeria. If maritime security is guaranteed, the revenue of NIMASA would increase, and by extension, that of NPA and others, this means more money for Nigeria,” Udodoh said after witnessing the Maritime Security Unit operational maritime capability demonstration in Lagos.

The demonstrations included boat formations, vessel boarding and overtaking with interceptor boats, rappelling and fast rope descents from helicopters, as well as hoist rescues.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dayo Mobereola restated the agency’s commitment to the sustainability of the project.

“This project has earned Nigeria International recognition by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and we have been taken off from the piracy list. The aim is to continue to sustain it and we will continue to encourage the personnel of the Deep Blue project. Keep it up, and we on our own side would continue to support you as much as humanly possible. “Please don’t reduce your efforts as we count on you to make the maritime space more secure.

The President of Nigeria is counting on you, the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola is also in support of this project,” he said.

A renovated accommodation for the aircrew of the Deep Blue project and an interceptors’ marine workshop were commissioned by the House committee chairman and the NIMASA Director General.

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