Written by¬† Christian Okeke -Abuja
THE Federal Government is to procure additional armoured boats in the next few months, as part of its efforts to curtail piracy, robbery and other maritime crimes at sea.
Already, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had engaged a service provider, Messrs Global West Vessels Specialist Limited, to provide patrol and enforcement boats, as well as other electronic software.
Under the agreement, the service provider was expected to provide a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 boats.
As part of the implementation, a total of 13 armoured boats had been procured, with three additional armoured boats expected in the next few months.
Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, confirmed the moves, noting that under an existing memorandum of understanding between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA was to provide the platform and logistics to enable the agency to perform its statutory functions, while the Nigerian Navy was to provide armed personnel in line with its constitutional mandate.
The minister said 53 vessels were arrested for oil theft and piracy in the last two years, while 5, 274 flag state inspections were carried out.
He disclosed that 90 per cent fatality of mixed crew, comprising Pakistani, Indians and Nigerians were recorded during the fire explosion involving MT African Hyacinth No 376946 IMO70107430GT1320 at Okolo-Launch/Bonny-Kalibiama Port Harcout axis on September 30, last year.