The Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, in collaboration with the Lagos State Waterways Authority, marine police and other emergency responder agencies, on Thursday, conducted a joint search-and-rescue simulation exercise within the Lagos inland waters.
The exercise, according to the Navy, is designed to fortify the agencies’ ability to collaborate and respond to emergencies within the Lagos maritime domain.
It noted that the exercise was necessary to boost the confidence of users of the waterways, especially during Yuletide.
Speaking during the activation at the Lagos Waterfront, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, represented by the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, and Commander Joint Task Force Operation Awatse, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, applauded the initiative.
Hassan described it as a step in the right direction.
He also stated that while the maiden edition was being conducted within the inland waters, subsequent editions would be conducted at sea to further reassure foreign partners of the competence of security agencies in responding to emergencies within the entire maritime domain.
He said, “A key point in the CNS strategic directive is partnership with relevant agencies and stakeholders within the maritime sector towards the effective safety and security of the nation’s maritime domain.
“The Nigerian Navy and particularly the Western Naval Command have sustained these collaborative efforts, which undoubtedly have culminated in several operational achievements for enhanced national security.
“I would like to particularly appreciate the tremendous support from NIMASA. I would not forget to mention the special role played by the Lagos State Waterways Authority.
“Gathering this number of agencies to simulate their respective prowess is a step in the right direction. I therefore commend this wonderful initiative as well as salute the tenacity of all those who worked behind the scenes and made this day a reality.”
Also, speaking, the Director General of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, represented by the Director of the Deep Blue Project, Atonye Obom, commended the Western Naval Command for spearheading the joint simulation exercise.
He stated that the exercise was not only timely but would also strengthen the agencies’ ability to cooperatively respond to emergencies within the Lagos maritime domain.
“NIMASA is delighted to cooperate and collaborate with institutional stakeholders in addressing emergencies within our maritime domain as they occur. We believe that more can be achieved together through effective collaboration.
“Our agency has over the years invested in critical infrastructure and assets towards ensuring security and safety within our waters, thereby making us indispensable and worthy partners in maritime safety matters,” he said.
In his address, the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Transportation, Oluwaseun Osinyemi, said the exercise was a testament to the commitment and preparedness of the state government to ensure that the inland waterways are safe.
According to him, collaboration is not just an option but a necessity in the search and rescue exercise.
He also appreciated the Navy, LASWA, NIMASA, LASEMA, and other security agencies for their dedication and commitment to the joint search and rescue operation.
The General Manager, LASWA, Damilola Emmanuel, in his welcome address, lauded the synergy and collaboration between the state and federal agencies.
He noted that the significance of well-executed search and rescue simulations cannot be overemphasised, especially at a time of increasing complexity and diversity of potential emergencies, from natural disasters to industrial accidents.
He said the exercise will not only enhance the technical expertise of its first responders but also foster a culture of collaboration and adaptability among agencies.
“This is a world where we have unforeseen emergencies. The ability to respond swiftly is not just a capability but a necessity. Set search and rescue simulations serve as invaluable tools in preparing our emergency responders for the unpredictable challenges they may face in the field.
“These exercises provide a controlled environment where teams can hold their skills, test their strategies, utilise their existing assets, and refine their coordination, ultimately ensuring a more proficient or coordinated response when a real crisis does unfold.
“Through meticulous preparation and strategic training, we can truly make a difference in safeguarding our communities and mitigating the impact of such disasters.
“Let’s approach the simulation exercise with dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to continuous improvement. Once more, we reaffirm our collective responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of those to serve,” Emmanuel said.
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