NIMASA deploys special mission aircraft to fight oil theft in Nigeria
By EDU ABADE, Business Editor
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has assured that two special mission aircraft in the agency’s deep blue project fleet will be deployed to fight oil theft and protect the country’s economy.
Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who spoke at the 16th edition of the Maritime Seminar for Judges organised by the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), described oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining, as unlawful activities capable of threatening the country’s economic and environmental safety.
He said the aircraft from the mobile assets of the deep blue project would support existing platforms being deployed by other security agencies with which NIMASA has subsisting Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs).
Jamoh explained that the aircraft would assist in patrolling oil facilities, installations and other assets to effectively monitor suspicious human and vessel movements in and around the facilities.
While restating the agency’s commitment to a crime-free and secure maritime domain, he reminded participants at the seminar of President Muhammadu Buhari’s interest in rebuilding stakeholders and investors’ confidence in the country’s maritime sector.
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He said the President’s approval for procurement of the assets, their commissioning in Lagos and their deployment for security duties, have contributed immensely to the fight against maritime crimes.
He said: “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. We have recorded gains in our maritime security efforts and more needs to be done to sustain and consolidate on these gains.
“Among other reasons, our collaborations with security agencies with which we have MoUs are to ensure effective partnership and work ahead of criminal elements and I am happy to state that our synergies have been beneficial to the country in several ways.”