Building Capacity to Provide Vital Asset Protection

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Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that with an increasing global focus on the challenges of piracy and other maritime illegalities in the Gulf of Guinea, the core derivatives of Ocean Marine Solutions lie in building capacity to provide vital asset protection on Nigerian waters

At the recently held International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEC), in Accra, Ghana, one of the exhibitors shone; the Ocean Marine Solutions. Led by Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda (Rtd.), who is the Managing Director, the company was the only proudly Nigerian firm that flew the nation’s flag at the conference.

This perhaps is not surprising given its huge capabilities in providing vital asset protection to the oil and gas industry and much needed escort services for commercial vessels transiting through Nigerian waters.

With its fleet of 42 purpose-built patrol boats, which have been audited and approved by the Nigerian Navy, Ikioda restated the company’s commitment to maintaining a fully compliant, globally recognised maritime security solution, adding that they pride theirselves on delivering the best possible security solutions to the oil and gas and shipping industries.

In an interview with THISDAY at the sideline of the event, Ikioda said, “Ocean Marine Solutions is a private maritime security provider. What we do is to support the Nigerian Navy to provide that needed security for our major asset in Nigerian waters.

“Ocean Marine Solutions has been the first in the private maritime security sector and we have about 42 purpose-built vessels that we use to support the navy in providing that dedicated security for all major operators in Nigerian waters.

“We also provide a very safe anchorage area for ships coming into Lagos, just off Lagos fairway buoy where ships coming in Nigeria ports come to anchor and await their turn to go into the ports. We are working currently with Shell Nigeria.

“We have worked with Mobil and with most of the oil companies because we guarantee their safety and security since we started operating in 2007.

“We have developed a capacity that is second to none in providing that needed maritime security and of recent too, we are modernising our fleet. We have an order of 10 new vessels and we are expecting the first batch of three by end of August in Nigeria and with that we know that our capacity will be boosted and the purpose-built vessels that we are having will give us that needed bite to be able to ward off criminals who come around to disturb some of these people working in the coast in the Nigerian waters.

“ We are also into pipeline security. We carry out maintenance and security for pipelines. Ocean Marine Solutions as we speak now is maintaining the Escravos- Warri pipeline; we are maintaining the Bonny-Port Harcourt pipeline, we are on the Trans Focardos pipeline and we are also on the OML40.

“As we speak, before we got into those places, the volume of losses that NNPC was suffering was very high but I tell you that as at today, that has been trashed to almost a zero level and I think we can beat our chest that we are doing very well. A lot has been achieved.

“Mostly we use the navy and the Operation Delta Safe personnel and what we do is that anytime we go out for security patrols we have navy and the Operation Delta Safe people with us and they assist us to either arrest criminals and once they arrest, we hand them over back to them to carry out the prosecution.

“We have also developed capacity because at the time there was this order that any of the arrested illegal production platform should be destroyed. What we have done now is that we now us swamp buggies to get to their locations and any of those illegal refineries that we discover, we smash their production equipment in order to discourage them from going into such ventures.

“Every country strives to develop her own capacity. Like you know, the NN has built two of their own vessels and we hope too that in the very near future instead of going outside to buy vessels, we will try to go into partnership with the Nigerian Navy Dockyard and see if we can get vessels built by them for our own use.”

In achieving all the aforementioned, THISDAY gathered that OMS conducts a thorough security assessment to identify areas of risk prior to commencement of services. This threat analysis enables them to formulate a tailored risk mitigation strategy covering command and control, emergency response procedures, rules of engagement, communication protocol, response tools, alert status and reporting protocols procedures.

He said it is also noteworthy that their vessels have been audited and approved by the Nigerian Navy and are fitted with comprehensive communication equipment, enabling full situational awareness for their clients’ enhanced protection.

This is in line with their mission statement, which is to enhance the safeguarding of maritime related commercial investments by offering expert advice and real time solutions to security problems.

Also in tandem is their vision which is to provide premier security solutions that will promote a safe business environment not only in Nigeria but the entire West African Coast.