The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy have announced plans to collaborate in training to effectively safeguard the country’s maritime space.

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This was revealed when the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, hosted the Flag Officer Commanding, Naval Training Command, Rear Admiral Fredrick Ogu, at the agency’s headquarters, according to a statement by NIMASA.

In his address, the NIMASA DG noted that a large percentage of the agency’s budget was used to train its workforce, stating that the Nigerian Navy also benefitted from it.

He said NIMASA would also focus on naval facilities and how to harmonise the training guidelines to meet the standards required by the International Maritime Organisation for certification.

He was quoted as saying, “NIMASA invests so much in the training of her workforce. We have what we call non-staff educational assistance, which is also geared towards building capacity for the maritime sector, apart from our workforce.

“This we have also done by including Navy 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.”

The DG said the Deep Blue Project was aimed at tackling insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, up to the Gulf of Guinea.

He 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.

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

Ogu, on his part, emphasised the need for NIMASA and the Navy to work together.

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 training programmes cannot be overstated. They are the ones who issue certificates for our basic mandatory and survival at sea trainings. So, there is a need for us to harmonise our training methods to further enhance our capacity.”

Ogu said the Nigerian Navy’s training facilities were open to all, urging Nigerians willing to take up a career in the maritime sector to take advantage of the naval facilities across the country.