Home News NIMASA, NAF to Fight Pirates, Oil Thieves with UAVs

NIMASA, NAF to Fight Pirates, Oil Thieves with UAVs


ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has perfected plans to use the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) platforms to maintain security in the nation’s waterways.

To this end, the NAF would be deploying its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to assist in the effective surveillance and intelligence report on the activities of criminals within the maritime area to checkmate piracy, oil thieves and smugglers.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated this on Wednesday when the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, visited his office to strengthen areas of partnership with the agency.

Abubakar said that maritime environment was very important for Nigeria and that NAF was collaborating with NIMASA to ensure safety and security of the whole sector through air patrols, monitoring and enforcement.

He said: “We have actually been partners and we have been operating together for so many years because the maritime environment is one of the most important environments in this our great nation.

“We are therefore, doing everything humanly possible right now in the maritime environment in the area of maritime patrol air planes, with which we have been working with you before and we are trying to see how  we can get more planes. In fact, in our strategic plan, we intend to acquire the CASA 295 Air Craft, which is another maritime patrol aircraft that can be used to handle some of the situations in our maritime environment. But in the meantime, we trying to see how we can get back our second ATR 42 aircraft which is another maritime patrol aircraft.

“In addition to maritime, patrol aircraft, the NAF is also going in local UAV production. We have over 16 officers that have acquired PhD in aerospace engineering. And these guys have developed a prototype UAV for us, the UAV named GULMA. We are using it, we have mounted a camera on it, we are now at the level of operationalising this UAV.

“And I think that is an area that we should also look into so that NIMASA can key into it. Without even the NAF, you can be part of the process of manufacturing this so that we can produce as many UAVs as possible and they train your own personnel to have a small department where you can actually fly these UAVd and monitor the environment in addition to what we are doing for you. And this something that is available.”

Earlier, Peterside spoke on the need to maximise the benefits of the coastline by ensuring “that it is protected against criminal activities, against pirates, all untoward activities. To do that we must deploy all resources of the Nigerian state”.

He said: “We are here to harp on the need for us to synergise, and collaborate in securing our maritime domain. No one agency can do it alone. Not the Navy, not the Air Force, not the Army. There must be cross fertilisation of resources, there must be cross utilisation of resources to ensure that the maritime domain of Nigeria is secured for commercial activity.

“The NAF incidentally has the capacity and the capability to put an eye on the air surveillance of our maritime domain and we want to tap into that capability and to enhance the job we do for our country. And so we are also going to invite the NAF, to say please we are ready share resources with you, share information, share data, and work with you , collaborate with you in a number of areas to ensure that you place an eye on the air surveillance of our maritime domain.

“The other thing is to say to you that there is need for us to work together in synergy to ensure that we stamp out piracy form our water ways. If you notice in recent time, there has been an upsurge in criminal activities, especially piracy on our water ways. NIMASA alone cannot deal with piracy on our waterways,” he noted.

Peterside continued: “We are taking one step, we have sent an anti-piracy bill to the National Assembly, the other one is for all of us to come together, to monitor what is happening so that we can pick signals at the earliest notice. And if we monitor and do things to deter criminals, make sure they don’t have incentive to operative on our water ways and if they even do we can respond appropriately. The NAF is in best position to help us respond when the need arises.”

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