The Federal Executive Council (FEC) is expected to deliberate on a contract for the design and construction of fast moving security patrol boats (FPB).
In what seems like a strategy to improve the nation’s marine security, the plan contained in a memorandum by the minister of transport, Idris Audu Umar, stated that the water craft were pegged with specifications described as “17 meters and 32 meters Manta MC ASD” for the Lagos pilotage district.
The Nigerian Navy reportedly purchased and commissioned several of these craft last year. These craft are specifically designed for coastal security and patrol missions, in law enforcement, coast guard and counter insurgency, as well as naval operations in coastal areas, with designs for very high acceleration, as the name implies.
With the clear concerns of marine security in Nigerian waters, the FPBs are built in consideration of new specifics arising in requirement of safety of sea routes and protection of ships from attacks of pirates. The vessels also focus on illegal drug trafficking, terror, performing search and rescue duties and safety at sea.
Also expected to be considered during the council meeting in Abuja today (Wednesday) is the procurement of four fast moving 40 to 45 passenger water buses and the approval of contracts for the procurement of three fast moving security boats.
Analysts say this is a welcome development, given rising security concerns in Nigerian waterways which have since gained notoriety as ‘unsafe’. These concerns have been exacerbated by a recent International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report which raised a red flag over what it described as the insecurity of Nigeria’s territorial waters.
IMB has released a report through its Piracy Reporting Centre headed by Noel Choong, giving a warning signal to other nations to avoid Nigerian waters, owing to some pirates’ exploits in that space.
According to the analysts, there is palpable apprehension among ship owners engaged in trade with Nigeria, over the increasing activities of pirates within the country’s coast, noting that Nigeria and its neighbour, Benin Republic, are being fingered as second to Somalia in terms of piracy attacks.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via businessdayonline.com. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com