NIMASA, Air Force Sign MoU to Secure Maritime Domain  

In a bid to further secure the nation’s maritime environment and stem the ugly trend of sea-robbery, piracy, illegal bunkering and other sea based crime, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Air force have endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote safety and security in the Nigerian maritime domain.
At the official signing ceremony of the MOU in Abuja on Monday, the Director-General, NIMASA, Ziakede  Akpobolokemi and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh acknowledged the need for co-operation in the discharge of maritime safety and security functions of the Agency to the benefit of the country.
According to Akpobolokemi , the MOU signed by NIMASA and the Nigerian Air force in addition to an existing MOU with the Nigerian Navy will help tackle notable challenges militating against safe and secure shipping in Nigeria which include; limited assets to monitor and enforce maritime laws; rising incidences of piracy and armed robbery at sea; illegal ship- to – ship transfer of oil in Nigerian waters, illegal fishing and limited data on both fixed and floating facilities moored in Nigerian waters.
“The MOU encourages the Nigerian Air force to provide air tactical support for sea-based operations against illicit operations of ships. The recent success of the anti-piracy operations involving the Agency, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air force has given impetus to this agreement”, the NIMASA DG stressed.
He expressed appreciation to the President and Commander – In -Chief, Dr Goodluck Jonathan for granting approval to the cooperation agreement. 
On his part, Air Marshall Alex Badeh on behalf of the Nigerian Airforce pledged to avail the Agency the tactical experience and capacity of the Nigerian Air force necessary to support regulatory functions of NIMASA.
“The Nigerian Air force is competent and willing to pursue the objectives of this MOU in the interest of our dear nation. Illegal operations of ships sabotage the Nigerian economy and require the cooperation of the Nigerian Air force, NIMASA and all concerned to save Nigeria”, Badeh maintained
The Agency had noted the need to integrate Nigerian maritime domain air surveillance to its existing framework for monitoring ships activities in the Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
In line with the operations agreement, NIMASA and the Nigerian Air force   are to collaborate in the broad areas of Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, search and rescue operations, tactical airlifting and enforcement actions against piracy, smuggling, illegal bunkering and illegal fishing.
The NIMASA-Nigerian Air force MOU for the promotion of maritime safety and security compliments a sea- based operations agreement between the Agency and the Nigerian Navy. 

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