Maritime Domain Awareness

Published: 2021-07-01 04:56:30
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SYNOPSIS FOR PAPER 3 ON MARITIME DOMAIN AWARENESS AS A VEHICLE FOR EFFECTIVE NIGERIAN NAVY OPERATIONS GUEST LECTURER:Rear Admiral FD Akpan (Rtd) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1. This paper discussed the concept of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the strategic dimension involving the security and safety of the maritime environment. It further stressed that safety and security of the maritime environment are critical for national security and economic wellbeing of any nation.
While it highlighted the prospects of Nigeria’s littoral, the paper was quick to enumerate that there was need to present effective patrols, improve maritime security and provide a conducive environment within the maritime domain for enhanced commercial activities and foster the development of Nigeria. 2. The prospect of Nigeria’s maritime domain is enormous due to the presence of huge mineral deposit; however, the paper highlighted some threats to Nigeria’s adequate utilisation of the domain.
These threats include nation state threat, terrorism, trans-national criminals, pirates, environment pollution and illegal immigration. Of interest to the presenter was the loss of revenue, employment opportunity and environmental degradation as a result of these threats to Nigeria’s maritime domain. The paper stressed the need for the NN to imbibe the tenets of maritime awareness by acquiring critical response architecture for effective naval operation.

Some strategies proposed by the paper to address these threats include the preservation of the freedom of the seas/waterways through effective presence, facilitating and defending commerce and facilitating the movement of desirable goods and people, while screening out dangerous people and goods. 3. The paper enumerated the ISPS code and Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) as some international instruments for enhancing MDA. However, there was need to fuse information and intelligence between government agencies and private ector because sharing of common data bases has been identified as one of the key to the development of an effective MDA. In line with this development, the paper stressed the need for Nigeria to implement the provisions of these instruments as proposed in the code as soon as possible to meet international standards and practice. 4. Building capacity for MDA as posited in the paper could be enhanced through a bill and an enabling act, because the bill would seek to provide the national structures, roles and the various guide lines towards the actualisation of the instruments of the conventions on MDA.
Though the maritime security Bill is before the national assembly, the paper suggested the partnering of the NN with other key stakeholders in making inputs. However, due to the inhibitive cost of MDA programmes which would cause strains in planning regimes, there is need to utilize the provision for partnership to build enviable capacities for MDA within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other well advanced countries. As part of measures to build capacity towards effective naval operation through MDA, the NN would need to acquire some infrastructure to facilitate the monitoring of vessels that enter Nigeria’s maritime domain.
These infrastructures include Port Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS), coastal VTMIS, Automated Identification System (AIS), Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) and Radio, Radar and Telecommunication system. 5. The strategic approach adopted in the paper for MDA involves consistent domestic and partner-initiated programmes, as well as significant regional collaboration given the trans-national character of most threats and vulnerabilities.
Hence the proposal in the paper is a strategy incorporating regional and global realities. However, to achieve the appropriate MDA, understanding the implications of threats would help stakeholders and government to better appreciate their respective roles. 6. The paper was also of the view that while the NN within its premises could provide the wherewithal to educate her personnel on the tenets of the code, the government must compliment the efforts of the NN with the acquisition of the right size and type of ships and platforms.
Also, it was opined in the paper that in the short term timeline for the NN to provide the adequate response as required in the MDA strategy, the Forward Operational Bases would have to be developed appropriately to meet the demands of MDA. The development would involve construction of jetties; logistics support facilities and other infrastructures to support helicopters operation. While the long term suggestion in the paper was the phased refit of NN warships. The paper was of the view that the losses to the government could be reduced if the funds for the refit and acquisition of NN ships were provided.
However, the paper stressed that the personnel are the greatest assets towards the realisation of effective MDA. Consequently, there was need for the NN to appropriate the right skills towards the management of the equipment required to actualise the regime. VERBATIM REPORT OF INTERACTIVE SESSION 7. The discussion session was conducted by the following resource persons: a. V/Adm J Ayinla (Rtd)-Moderator b. R/Adm OS Ibrahim-Discussant c. R/Adm J Kpokpogri-Discussant d. AVM Atawodei-Discussant e. Cdre IE Ibas-Discussant MODERATOR’ OPENING REMARKS 8. The moderator commended the presenter for doing justice to the topic.
He stressed that maritime domain has been given several definitions, but most of the definitions had missed out one part of the definition. According to him the earth spherical and 70 per cent of it is covered by water. He further stressed that the underwater aspect of maritime domain has always been ignored. He then posited that discussants should pay adequate attention to the underwater aspect of the maritime domain. He stated that vision 20 started in 1979. However, timeliness had been a problem in the NN. He posited that NN had continued from where it was in 1979, the NN could have gone far. CDRE IE IBAS 9.
The first discussant was Cdre IE Ibas. He thanked the CNS for giving him the opportunity to comment on the presentation. He acknowledged that the presentation was comprehensive, apt and the definitions of the variables of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) suited the theme of the conference. He stated that the presenter understood the goal of MDA as the early identification of threats at sea. According to him, the United States was the frontline proponent of the concept of MDA at all levels with the vision of multi layer domain picture involving identifying picture and observing known pattern of vessel movement in the MDA. 0. The discussant stressed the need for Nigeria to pursue an aggressive maritime domain culture. He further highlighted that Nigeria needs MDA in order to achieve 20:2020. The discussant emphasized that the SWOT analysis of the presentation gave an expose of the maritime environment. It was highlighted that MDA must go beyond platform sensors, consequently automated detection system could be the basis for MDA as they could be employed for activities at sea. According to the discussant, the threats of terrorism are not as potent as militancy in Nigeria.
Therefore, according to the presentation, all efforts could be geared towards addressing the potent threat of militancy. The militant attack on Atlas Cove was used for illustration. 11. The presentation also identified man as one of the key element in achieving MDA. However, the present attitude of personnel to attain MDA was stressed. The discussant enumerated the conditions that were prevalent in the 1980’s when the NN had been involved in arresting smugglers and pirates. The discussant stressed that the NN may not achieve the required rchitecture for MDA with the present behavioural attitude of the personnel. However, the discussant stressed that it was gratifying to note that the NN through the RMAC in the NN Base, Apapa through the installation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) was making positive progress in MDA. He opined that the RMAC could be installed on NN helicopters. He was of the opinion that greater interaction was required between partners and stakeholders. However, the challenge of inter agency and service rivalry would need to be overcomed in order to achieve MDA.
R/ADM J KPOKPOGRI 12. The second discussant was R/Adm Kpokpogri. He thanked the CNS for finding him worthy to discuss this paper. He commended the presenter for a well delivered paper. The discussant stressed that he would look at the paper from one angle. He stated that the United States and the European nations started MDA. It was necessitated by the need to stop drugs trafficking and other illegal activities perpetrated at sea. 13. The importance of the NN is yet to be fully appreciated because the NN lacks the necessary platforms to cope with the present challenges.
According to him, the NN needs new platforms in order to cope with the challenges. He stressed that it was alarming to note that about 80 per cent of ships operating in Nigeria’s water are not registered. Consequently, he posited that there was need for the NN to synergise with NIMASA and other maritime agencies such as DPR and NNPC on observation of certificate carried by vessels in our maritime environment in order to enhance efficiency. 14. According to the discussant, there was need for all involved in maritime security including retired senior officer to help the NN in repositioning her for the challenges.
According to the discussant, Nigeria’s sub region is dominated by franco phone countries, consequently, he made some prayers for the NN to consider. The prayers made included the introduction of french language to enhance cooperation in the sub region, establishment of MDA watch in ENC and WNC and the need to involve foreign stake holders like the US and UK in perfecting MDA in Nigeria. R/ADM OS IBRAHIM 15. The third discussant was R/Adm OS Ibrahim and he stressed that he would look at the presentation based on 3 premises. The discussant highlighted his assumptions as: . It is upon the NN under the providence of God that the prosperity of the nation rest. b. Patrolling Nigeria’s EEZ is the only safe guard for control. c. Even if the money and resources required are made available today it will take a min of 5 days to achieve the much required state. 16. According to the discussant, MDA in line with vision 20:2020 would eradicate poverty, bring about peace and development. He stressed that MDA could guarantee full security of the maritime domain, make waters safe and attractive for investment.
He was of the view that the presenter was modest in his recommendations, however, he stressed that the presentation omitted logistics ship which was important for presence. 17. The discussant stressed that US mentioned capability gap in the regional maritime domain. To cover the gap, the US installed the RMAC in Nigeria. He further stressed that he was pursuing collaborative effort to enhance the utilisation of the RMAC. Consequently, the NN was able to organise a capability awareness discussion on the RMAC with representative from NPA and NIWA including the Director General of NIMASA.
He was of the opinion that Nigeria’s maritime agencies would need to cooperate better in order to achieve the objectives of MDA. AVM ATAODE 18. AVM Ataode structured his discussion into 2 parts. He raised some observations which included: a. Was it the first time the NN was discussing MDA? b. He corrected the mistake on the deadline for compliance with ISPS code on para 25 from 21September to 31 July 2009. c. Why has Nigeria not passed its own bill as was done in Ghana. 19. He stressed that the focus for MDA would be on early detection by radars and radios.
Consequently, he opined that the NN could set up a task force in determining NN capability on MDA. He stated that MDA could make the sea transparent and continuously available. According to the discussant, PICOMMS came about as a directive from IMO that all maritime nations should put in place a body to oversee the implementation of the ISPS code. He further enumerated that the government organisations were the ones defaulting in the implementation of the ISPS code, however, he stressed that 65 facilities have been declared compliant by the relevant authority.
Most compliant facility was Niger dock while the least was the Atlas cove in Lagos. 20. He stated that the contract sum for COMMARAS was over bloated to the tune of 250 million euros, leading to the re-evaluation of the contract. He emphasised that PICOMMS was not meant to be a permanent establishment. According to him the COMMARAS was to be installed at 11 stations, with 93 personnel to man each radar stations. However, some of the locations of these radar station sites are uninhabited. PICOMMS has procured the DA 42 Opale Twin Star and King Air 350 aircraft. CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FLOOR 21. Cdr Oluwagbamila.
MDA is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Do we have a maritime security policy? Efforts of the government in achieving MDA were borne out of external influence. ISPS by IMO code and AIS by US, there was need to harmonise the 2, because both are meant to achieve the same goal. 22. R Adm Arogundade. MDA is a subset of the policing role of the NN. The absence of training in policing role has affected the capability of young officers from appreciating the recent challenges in policing functions. 23. Capt Carew (Rtd). PICOMMS primary duties is to coordinate international shipping and ports facility.
The absence of a senior naval officer could act as an impediment to the functions of the agency. 24. R Adm Adedeji. Real MDA is what is happening at the national high command. Real Change has to come from the political masters. 25. Capt Okunbor. He suggested that papers presented in the CONSAC be forwarded to the national planning committee on the implementation of vision20:2020 as the NN repositions itself for development. 26. Sen Olajumoke. He stressed a point that his duty was to be present for the whole deliberations in order to tow the line of developmental needs of the NN. He noted Capt Carew’s suggestion.
He had expected that someone would have reacted on the opinion of the first discussant. PRESENTER 27. The presenter agreed with Cdr Oluwagbamila in working out the terms for maritime strategy, he cited examples with the US. He stated that there was need for the NN to be in charge with issues bothering on maritime security. MODERATOR 28. In summarising the session, political will was needed from the national authority from where national aspiration derives all that needs to be done. He wanted to know the authority to deliver maritime security. He stressed that the national prosperity of Nigeria is dependent on sea power and NN.
Also, he stressed that there was consider previous threat appreciation in order to re-align it. Failure of the NN could be hinged on inability to ensure deterrence. In this regard, he highlighted the absence of a compact force and capability of visual deterrence. He further stressed the sophistication of the militants in Nigeria was affecting capacity development for adequate MDA. 29. He enumerated that the budget for maintenance of ARADU was not enough to ensure 15 per cent availability of the ship. According to him there was need for the NN to come up with a plan to growth within a time frame say 2010, 2020 or 2030.
Also, in his opinion, discussions bothering on ships could involve training considerations and motivations. These would ensure that the personnel are adequately motivated. The issue of 100 ships for the sub region was raised. He opined that, if Nigeria has to be relevant, Nigeria would have to provide at least 60 ships. In this regard, if Nigeria was to be among the 20 most developed economies, she was to develop her national and sea power. 30. Finally, he stated that the NN does not have the right platforms to counter the present threats in our maritime domain.
He opined that the NN could realise effective naval operations through better inter-agency cooperation between the NN and PICOMMS, and also that the NN could rely more on force multipliers for early detection and countering of threats. POSERS FOR PAPER 3 1. How can the NN in collaboration with other stake holders in the maritime sector implement measures to achieve MDA? 2. How can the NN harness her FOBs for improved MDA? 3. How can a framework for setting up a dedicated body structure that would be responsible for coordinating MDA in Nigeria? 4.
Identify the factors militating against effective MDA in Nigeria with a view to proffering solutions. 5. Based on an identified structure, does the NN need to pursue an act of parliament? 6. Is there an enabling act for effective MDA or are the existing terms good enough for an effective MDA? 7. Identify sources through which dedicated funding for MDA can be achieved outside government sources. 8. What strategies can be adopted by the NN in effectively combating identified threats so as to sustain effective NN operations? 9. Identify policies for implementing MDA and suggest ways of making them more effective.
If none, suggest policies. 10. What infrastructures can be put in place to facilitate effective monitoring of vessels? 11. In what ways can partnership with the various stakeholders be harnessed towards achieving MDA? 12. In extending her influence to cover the Gulf of Guinea, what asset mix would the NN require to be effective? 13. What strategies can be adopted by the NN to ensure that personnel are adequately enlightened or trained on MDA? 14. In what areas should the NN key into or make input towards the proposed maritime security bill in order to ensure that the interests of the service are guarded?

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