By Godwin Oritse
THE much awaited take-off of the Deep Blue Sea project, Nigeria’s maritime security initiative, appears to be in further wait before implementation as some preparatory activities are yet to be in place.
A member of the Monitoring Committee on the project who spoke to Vanguard Maritime Report on the condition of anonymity indicated that though the report of the project committee was awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council before it is handed over to the relevant authorities for implementation, training and integration issues are yet to be concluded.
The source, however, said that apart from the few materials that are yet to be cleared from the ports, more than 90 percent of the Deep Blue Sea project procurements have arrived the country and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has taken delivery of these items.
The Committee member who is also a staff of the Federal Ministry of Transport, explained that there was no comprehensive security structure in the Nigerian maritime space from Badagry to Calabar adding that the Deep Blue project is a welcome development to secure the nation’s marine domain.
The source said: “What they have been doing is a makeshift security arrangement or support for NIMASA to mount specific areas to allow merchant vessels to move and then collect their revenue, that is the reason for renting vessels.
“The Deep Blue project will put an end to this makeshift arrangement in reality. The government is going ahead with the project and by July 2020 the implementation will begin.
“There is an aspect of the training of personnel that has not been completed and these are some of the issues that would delay the take-off of the programme. You know the project is an integrated one; the assets, the personnel must be integrated for it to be effective.
“The Federal Government has committed a lot of money to the project; so it is not going back, it is going to go ahead and complete it.”
It was also gathered that there are three training programmes that must be done before the implementation commences and two of the programme have been done.
Vanguard Maritime Report also gathered that some of the equipment are needed to be mounted at relevant locations and this, according to the Ministry official, will take some time. He added that it is after the mounting of these equipment that the project will be integrate for a seamless coordination and operation between the personnel and the machines.