From right: Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh makes a presentation to the Flag Officer Commanding FOC, Naval Training Command NAVTRAC, Rear Admiral Fredrick Ogu during a visit by the FOC to the NIMASA headquarters in Lagos, recently.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy are concluding plans to harmonise their training procedures as part of efforts to enhance  improved safety and security of the country’s maritime domain, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said.

The DG made this revelation when the Flag Officer Commanding FOC Naval Training Command NAVTRAC, Rear Admiral Fredrick Ogu paid him a courtesy visit at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos at the weekend.

He also disclosed that a large chunk of the agency’s budget went into the training of its workforce, adding that other stakeholders, including officers and men of the Nigerian Navy, also benefit from training programmes facilitated by NIMASA, which it believes is in the overall interest of the maritime industry.

It was further gathered that the agency is currently working on strategies to harmonise the training facilities of the Navy with a view to aligning them with those of the agency’s training guidelines in order to meet the standards required by the International Maritime Organisation IMO for necessary certifications.

“We have invested so much in the training of our workforce. In addition to training our staffers, we also have what we call ‘non-staff educational assistance’, which is geared towards building capacity for the maritime industry. This, we have also done by including naval personnel whenever the opportunity and the need arise. In this wise, we are open to approval of training facilities across the country as long as they meet IMO’s training standards.

“NIMASA is not an armed organisation and could not achieve its mandate without the Nigerian Navy. The relationship between both agencies  has come a long way, and predates the Memorandum of Understanding MoU that led to the formation of the Maritime Guard Command, made up of naval officers and staff of the agency and domiciled in NIMASA”, Jamoh said.

On the Deep Blue Project, also known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, which aims to comprehensively tackle insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Gulf of Guinea, the DG said: “Most of our Deep Blue Project assets are already in the country and most of these assets, like the Special Mission Vessels and aircraft, would be manned and commanded by the officers of the Nigerian Navy.

“What is causing a little delay in the deployment is the training component because some of these trainings would be done outside the shores of the country. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic there is a little delay in the training programme”.

Meanwhile, Rear Admiral Ogu, who was appointed FOC, Naval Training Command last month, emphasised the need for NIMASA and the Navy to close ranks in terms of training and on other fronts. He noted that NIMASA’s role in the certification of most maritime-related training programmes was crucial to the growth and development of the country’s maritime industry.

He said: “I know we have an existing MoU with NIMASA, which makes it easier for us to relate on many fronts. The importance of NIMASA to our trainings cannot be overstated. NIMASA is to issue certificates for our basic mandatory and survival at sea trainings. So there is need for us to harmonise our training methods to further enhance our capacity.

“The Nigerian Navy has training facilities that are available to both civilians and military personnel. Nigerians willing to take up a career in the maritime industry should also take advantage of the naval facilities across the country”.