The Round Table of Shipowner Associations and OCIMF have expressed their full support for the launch of Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project. Nigeria has announced on June 10 a significant investment in military and law enforcement infrastructure to secure its maritime domain as part of a stepping up of actions to address the ongoing piracy issue in the Gulf of Guinea.
Managed by the Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA), the multi-agency project will significantly increase maritime security in the region, an area blighted by piracy, armed robbery, and other maritime crimes.
A central command and control center based in Lagos will oversee a network of integrated assets including two special mission vessels, two special mission long- range aircraft, 17 fast-response vessels capable of speeds of 50 knots, three helicopters, and four airborne drones, providing 24/7 cover for the region. These complement the Yaounde ICC structure offering real capability to both Nigeria and the region.
It is the hope of the industry that Deep Blue, coordinated with other navies and programs through the mechanism of the Gulf of Guinea – Maritime Collaboration Forum/SHADE, will seriously impact on the ability of pirate groups to prey on merchant shipping.
Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General said: “The Deep Blue Project can be a game-changer in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and we congratulate Nigeria in launching the project despite the significant difficulties presented by COVID. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation with NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy to realize our shared vision of a region free from the threat of piracy and armed robbery.”