From left: Acting Board Chairman, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA,        Muhammed Abubakar; Minister of Transport, Mu’azu Sambo; Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR and other dignitaries during the commissioning of Enforcement Boats and the inauguration of other projects in Lagos at the weekend.

The Minister of Transport, Mu’azu Sambo, has said that harnessing Nigeria’s maritime potential remains a major catalyst for her growth and development as a country and must therefore do everything she could to ensure that the sector remains viable for investors.

The Minister, who spoke in Lagos Sunday, when he commissioned five enforcement boats and four ferries for members of staff acquired by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

He had also commissioned the agency’s newly acquired gadgets to enhance communication between NIMASA’s operational base and vessels on Nigerian waters, an ultra-modern Search and Rescue Base clinic located in Apapa, the newly developed multipurpose hall and an administrative block for the agency located at its Kirikiri operational base.

The Minister insists that If Nigeria wants to benefit from the potential of her rich blue economy, she must be able to reinvent the wheel in such a manner that would boost the confidence of foreign and local investors in her maritime domain and these projects have laid credence to such efforts.

While commending the Dr. Jamoh-led administration at NIMASA for the achievements, the Minister also noted that the new facilities would have tremendous positive impacts on the Agency and the entire blue economy of Nigeria especially as the nation seeks more vibrant ways of diversifying her economy.

“Maritime remains the catalyst for our growth as a country and we must do all we can to ensure the sector remains viable for investors. If we want to benefit from the potentials of our blue economy, we must be able to reinvent the wheel in such a manner that would boost the confidence of foreign and local investors in our maritime domain and these projects are laying credence to our efforts. It is our belief that our efforts to bring these projects to fruition would have made significant positive impacts on the decisions of investors in our maritime sector.

“Specifically talking about enforcement boats, I am aware of the impact these boats would have on the regulatory mandate of NIMASA. It is expected that those who have plans of carrying out nefarious acts in our maritime domain would have a rethink because NIMASA now has additional platforms to enforce compliance of its regulations. This will further enhance security in our domain in order for maritime businesses to thrive”, the Minister further argued.

Meanwhile, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who also spoke at the event, said the newly commissioned assets would ensure that Nigeria’s Maritime Administration sustains its leadership role in the maritime sector of Africa, while ensuring that the impact of its maritime security architecture is felt in the Gulf of Guinea and the entire African maritime domain.

Jamoh noted that the investment in the communication gadgets alongside the enforcement boats will not only add more value to our maritime security architecture, but also enhance NIMASA’s primary role of Port and Flag State Administration, adding that the Search and Rescue Base Clinic (SARBC) was to meet basic requirements of the IMO, since Nigeria is host to the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre for the West and Central Africa Region.

“Maritime cannot thrive without effective Search and Rescue because as much as we don’t want accidents, when they occur, we should be able to respond effectively. The Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinating Centre for West and Central Africa Region is domiciled here and we have the SARBC to complement its activities. What NIMASA has done is to upgrade the SAR clinic to the standards that would ensure it meets up with rescue centres of global repute. The issue of health in the Transport sector must always be at the front burner. The NIMASA Search and Rescue Base Clinic is another stride for the maritime sector because it meets international standards and would serve more purposes of taking care of patients within and beyond the transport sector,” he stated.

Recall that the Minister had last week, commissioned NIMASA’s newly acquired office complex in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, thus bringing to an end, over a decade of the agency operating from a rented facility in the FCT.