NIMASA: Asoluka hails Dakuku’s gestures on Wreck removal

Dr Chris Asoluka
  • Cameroonian Navy ship visits Calabar to strengthen maritime relations
  •  As Navy trains special forces on counter-terrorism

A former Chairman of Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Dr. Chris Asoluka has lauded the determined efforts of the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, particularly in the area of wrecks removal, stressing that the gesture is indeed, long overdue.

Asoluka who also emphasized the need to sustain the vision, noted that  abandoned wrecks pose danger to navigation, safety of lives and properties on the nation’s territorial ways, has subsequently called on owners of abandoned wrecks to co-operate with the NIMASA management on the issue, by removing them promptly, in order to ensure a safe and secured maritime environment.

Highlighting that the wreck removal effort would no doubt have positive   impacts on the global perception of Nigeria’s waters, the industry stakeholder advised on the adoption of a broad based approach, noting the need to pursue the objectives on an enduring vision.

Meanwhile, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has reiterated the Agency’s commitment to working closely with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, to review the process of wreck removal on the nation’s territorial waterways, especially the ones on the channels, as they pose great danger in our waterways.

Dr. Dakuku Peterside, NIMASA DG

He noted that a marine notice had been issued by the Agency to that effect and anyone who refuses to comply with the notice will have his or her wrecks removed forcefully and might also face litigation. This is in line with the Agency’s enabling Act and international protocol on wrecks removal.

“The Nairobi convention provides for the process via which a ship can be declared a wreck; NIMASA as a law abiding Agency had been following the law diligently and we will continue to do so”, Dakuku assured.

Dr. Peterside also used the opportunity to assure Stakeholders of the Agency’s resolve to continue to improve the maritime sector for better performances in line with international best practices.

It may be recalled that the NIMASA DG had previously stated that wreck removal process became inevitable, in order to enhance the efficiency of the process.

It is worthy of note that while the Nigerian Ports Authority will remove the Critical wrecks in its navigable channels or direct areas of operations, it must hand over such wrecks to the NIMASA, as a statutory receiver of wrecks. The agency is however statutorily empowered to remove wrecks, particularly wrecks whose removal it believes would enhance navigation and boost safety.

In the meantime, a Cameroonian Navy Ship, `CNS Le Ntem, has visited the Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy in Calabar  to strengthen maritime relationship between the two navies.

The ship arrived the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory (NNS-Victory) jetty in Calabar on Thursday.

Briefing newsmen in Calabar, Rear Adm. James Oluwole, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, said the ship was on a friendly visit to Calabar to strengthen maritime relations.

According to him, the ship represented the Government of Cameroon in Nigeria, adding that both navies had enjoyed cordial working relationship along the maritime coast over the years.

The FOC said that the Nigerian Navy, which was saddled with the responsibility of safe-guarding the maritime domain, would not relent in fostering cordial working relationship between both navies.

“I want to specially salute the efforts of the Cameroonian navy for embarking on this journey with the aim of fostering cordial working relationship.

“I am seeing this visit as a sign that we want to work together. Over the years, the naval interaction between both navies has improved greatly.

“Looking at your vessel and the visit, I am very confident that the collaboration will checkmate maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.

“I can assure you that the Nigerian and Cameroonian Navy will continue to work together to ensure that we deliver on our different roles’’, Oluwole  said.

Responding, Commanding Officer of CNS Le Ntem, Capt. Mekinda Betrand, said that the friendly visit was to strengthen the maritime relationship between both navies.

Betrand expressed satisfaction with the operational method of the Nigerian Navy, saying that the Cameroonian navy was happy to have a cordial maritime relationship with their Nigerian counterpart.

The Cameroonian Counsel in Nigeria, Mr Michel Atamdana, thanked the FOC for the  warm reception of their vessel into Nigeria.

Both navies were thrilled to a cocktail party on Saturday night to celebrate the `National Day of Cameroon’  observed on May 20 every year.

In another development, the Special Boat Services (SBS) of the Navy at the weekend certified 45 Defence Headquarters’ (DHQ) Special Forces fit for extreme counter-insurgency operations.

The  personnel were trained on tactical air, land and water combats, fast rope insertion/extraction techniques that would allow them multi-task when deployed in theatres of operations.

Of the 49 personnel enrolled for the training, three were disqualified for their inability to withstand the rigours and high mental alertness.

According to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), Rear Admiral Ifeola Mohammed, the Special Forces are a very important unit of the military because they are deployed to clear the ground for regular troops.

Rear Admiral Mohammed, who was represented by Commodore Samuel Kure, said each officer will execute tasks meant for 10 regular forces in the theatre of operation.

He said: “These ones are specialised section of the military. They are inserted to carry out a particular task to make a place conducive for the regular forces to move in. Sometimes, they come in to remove someone from the theatre of operation.

“The special forces are not part of the regular forces. By the nature of their work, they are only called upon anytime there is an operation and once they render their services, they are pulled out.”

SBS Commander, Commodore Rick Michaels said the insertion and extraction system was established to ensure access into inaccessible terrains.

“The Special Forces unit is a team of small and highly trained military personnel meant for special operations, conducted in denied, hostile and politically-sensitive environments.

“In the selection process, we task and push every individual to the limit of their mental and physical tenacity. The moment anyone breaks, we take him out. We don’t compromise. It is either you are with us or not.

“Apart from the fact that it is a very sharp and leading edge training, we need trainees to be able to catch up fast because the special force has wider latitude of skill than the regular forces.

“That is why we deploy them in small numbers where one person can do the work of many soldiers. They are supposed to be fast thinkers and very smart. It is a very dangerous training. One small mistake can cause a person his limb or even death.

“As managers of violence, our job is to take risks. It doesn’t mean that those disqualified are not fit for military jobs; they are fit for their regular jobs and not for the Special Forces, where boys are trained to be men and men turned into flaming warriors ready to go on the tide.

Acting Commander, NN Airbase, Captain Mustapha Braimah, expressed satisfaction at the demonstration of the graduands, saying he was hopeful they would contain insurgency and armed conflicts.

Captain Braimah explained that the integration of the NN Air Arm with the SBS was to prepare the Special Forces and build their capacity to meet with every challenge.

Additional report from Nation