Interagency Collaboration for Waterway Safety

In a significant move towards enhancing safety measures on Nigeria’s waterways, the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, in collaboration with the Rivers State Government and various emergency responders, conducted a search and rescue simulation exercise in Rivers State.

The exercise, held at the Naval Shipyard Limited Port Harcourt, aligns with the Nigerian Navy’s mandate of ensuring the safety and security of the nation’s maritime domain. It brought together agencies such as the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Police, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, National Inland Waterways Authority, Nigerian Ports Authority, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, among others.

Commander, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), South South, Rear Admiral John Okeke, emphasized that the exercise aimed to assess and validate the readiness of the Navy and collaborating agencies to respond to emergencies within Rivers State and the Nigerian Maritime domain. By doing so, it seeks to enhance safety on the waterways and boost passengers’ confidence in water transportation.

The simulation exercise serves as a morale booster for the disaster response units of all participating emergency agencies, including the police and the EFCC. It marks another milestone for the Nigerian Navy in its commitment to the safety and protection of lives and properties on the Nigerian waterways.

Rear Admiral Okeke emphasized the importance of collaboration between agencies in achieving security and protecting lives and properties on the waterways. He called for a collective effort, highlighting the significance of readiness and timely response in emergency situations.

The exercise also received commendation from the Rivers State Government, represented by Governor Siminalayi Fubara. The Governor praised the Nigerian Navy for organizing the exercise and commended the sacrifices made by the military, police, and other collaborating agencies in ensuring the safety of the people. He pledged the state government’s commitment to revitalizing the State Emergency Management and to continue partnering with the Navy and other security agencies.

Commodore Desmond Igbo, the Commander of NNS Pathfinder, emphasized that the exercise was in line with the Nigerian Navy’s commitment to saving lives at sea and protecting Nigeria’s maritime domain. He appreciated the support of the Rivers State Government and the Chief of Naval Staff in conducting the exercise.

The search and rescue simulation exercise underscored the importance of interagency collaboration in ensuring safety and protection of lives on the waterways. It serves as a reminder of the heroic acts of individuals like Joe Blankson, who sacrificed his life to save others during a boat mishap in 2018.

The commitment of agencies like the Nigerian Navy, the Police, NIWA, NEMA, and others to safety on the waterways is commendable. Through collaboration, advocacy, and sensitization efforts, they aim to reduce disasters and promote safety for all users of Nigeria’s waterways.

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