Buhari to launch Deep Blue Project in Lagos June 10


President Muhammadu Buhari will launch the assets under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection, also known as the Deep Blue Project, in Lagos on June 10.

Dr Bashir Jamoh, Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Jamoh said preparatory to the launch, the Maritime Security Unit of the Deep Blue Project was conducting simulation exercises for the event on land, air and sea to confirm its readiness for full deployment.

The director-general noted that the various military formations in the region were aware of the exercise.

He advised members of the public, especially those living in coastal communities to remain calm while the exercise was ongoing as it was only meant to test the readiness of the assets.

“With the deployment of the assets of the Deep Blue Project, we are entering another level of national security designed for total spectrum maritime security and better domain awareness using some of the latest technology.

“This effort to secure our waters will give Nigerians more leverage to harness the enormous resources of our maritime environment and aid the drive toward economic diversification,” he said.

Jamoh said the project, which was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Federal Ministry of Defence, was being implemented by NIMASA.

“The main objective of the Deep Blue Project is to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea. The project has three categories of platforms to tackle maritime security on land, sea and air.

“The land assets include the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) for intelligence gathering and data collection.

”16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol; and 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit The sea assets are two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats.

“The air assets comprise two Special Mission Aircraft for surveillance of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone; three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue operations; and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

“The Deep Blue Project is the first integrated maritime security strategy in West and Central Africa with the aim of tackling the incidences of piracy, sea robbery and other crimes at sea,” he said.

Jamoh said the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act passed by the ninth National Assembly would now provide legal backing for prosecution and punishment of offenders which used to be a challenge.