Members taking notes at the MAJAN seminar on the deep blue project.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) launches its deep blue project, the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection in Lagos on June the 10th. To this end the members of the Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN) organised a one day seminar to systematically discuss the project and make input on how to make it a successful venture that will be well sustained. It is instructive to note that the main objective of the project is to secure the Nigerian Maritime sector up to the gulf of Guinea.
In his presentation, the president of MAJAN, Mr. Ray Ugochukwu noted that though the oil industry contributes a large percentage of our national income, it cannot function without the Maritime sector as various ships and super tankers are used in the extraction and transportation of oil and in the process of the production and conveyance of the products of crude oil and its associated components.
NIMASA he noted, in its action of initiating the Maritime Security Unit (MSU) which comprises the air, land and sea components of security operations within the project is looking at each and everyone of us tapping into the ocean resources. Mr. Ugochukwu also pointed out that if a small nation state like Singapore can be said to have the busiest port in the world with the accruing benefits up until it was overtaken by the Chinese port of Shanghai in 2019, it should serve to educate us all about the potentials within our Maritime sector. He noted that the Singaporeans have also used their Maritime sector to develop their tourism as can also be done here.
Members contributed to the discourse and of particular note was the information by a member that Nigeria has over 853 kilometers of coastline with a stretch of about 200 nautical miles of access into the sea and one of the richest continental shelves in the world with also a vast amount of different aquatic creatures that are yet under tapped.
The problem within the Gulf of Guinea is largely that of piracy and with about 80℅ of all pirate activities in the world taking place here. This has been a course for concern for Nigerians resulting in the legislation giving government agencies the power to act and then culminating in the conception of the deep blue project. It is in the light of these that MAJAN as an advocacy group in the maritime sector deems it fit to bring the inherent benefits of the project vis-a-vis the industry to the reading public.
Members noted while making their presentation that the benefits of the deep blue project will majorly occur as enhancements to the government’s policy on the Maritime sector which is partly to create jobs, add to the nation’s gross domestic product, and increase revenue in order to fund budgets.
It was generally agreed by members that for the project to succeed, it must be driven by experts and technocrats and that stakeholders must be integrated in all the aspects of the project.
Crucially, it was also recommended that for Nigerians to take full advantage of the intrinsic value within the industry that the NIMASA should work rather assiduously to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) in order to help develop and to grow the local input in all the shipping activities.
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