By Stephen Ubanna
It is no longer news that the Nigeiran Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under the Leadership of Bashir Jamoh, controlled Deep Blue Project, have the proficient Crew, manning its Deep Blue Project weapons that can respond to emergency situations at any time .
Recall that the Federal government in 2017, had awarded a $195 million contract to HLSI Services and Technologies Limited, an Israeli s firm to supply maritime weapons to the agency. As at the end of 2022, the Israeli firm had delivered 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol, , 17, Fast Interceptor Boats, Two Special Mission aircrafts for the Surveillance of Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zones, EEZ, three special mission helicopters, Two Special mission vessels and four unmanned Aerial vehicles, to the maritime regulatory body. The maritime security weapons, according to the agency sources have been fully deployed for operations in Maritime waters and the Gulf of Guinea and had at various times responded to distress calls.
Only recently, Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General had received a distress calls, not from an ocean-going vessel attacked by Pirates or sea robbers but from the Safety Officer on MT ALIMA, who had reported that while cleaning the tanks of the vessel by a private cleaning company, ‘’eight of the workers developed complications’ due to insufficient oxygen available in the tank to sustain them’’.
Giving that the distress call s requires the saving of lives may have encouraged the NIMASA, Director General , to quickly reach out to the agency Head of the Deep Blue Project and Maritime Safety Department, who was said to have deployed on Te of the 17 Fast Intervention Boats for the rescue operations of the Private cleaning Company workers trapped in the vessels being cleaned.
Not that the NIMASA, Chief Executive officer, CEO, had received the distress calls at about 11.30 Pm on Thursday, February 2, 2023, and the position of the vessel at the time of the call was 06*20.9’’N003*21.9Eat the single buoy mooring area in Lagos, the nation’s commercial merve centre.
Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director and the maritime regulatory body spokesperson, had said that the Head of the agency Deep Blue Project and Maritime Safety Department had promptly deployed his men to the scene as directed by the NIMASA CEO. The rescue Team were said to be total control of the situation that they have rescued a total of seven of the Private Cleaning company workers.
The NIMASA helmsman , who could not hide his feelings had thanked the rescue who went for the operation for a job well-done and urged them ‘’to keep the maritime tradition of round – the- clock watchkeeping and timely response at all times’’.
The seven survivors were aid to have been taken to the military Hospital at Ikoyi,Lagos Metropolis, for proper medical attention. Osagie, the agency spokesperson, confirmed that the victims are currently recovering at various degrees, noting that five of them are now stable while one is still in critical condition.
Many believe that but for the quick intervention of the NIMASA, boss, to the plight of the Private cleaning Company workers at that late hour of the night of Thursday, 2023, all the eight of them would have died.
Maritime analysts believe that the prompt response of Jamoh, the NIMASA boss and his Deep Blue Poject and Maritime Safety Department officials clearly confirms his oft- repeated assurance to the maritime Communitys of the agency’s ‘’ever-ready 24- hour surveillance of Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea to respond to distress calls using any of the procured sea, air and land assets.
Appealing to industry operators ‘’to be meticulous about basic safety standards at all times’’, he had advised that ‘’anyone working on board vessels should update themselves with required training that complies with Standards of Training Certification and Watch keeping’, STW,’’.