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NIMASA hands over a rescue helicopter to Navy


The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Friday handed over its 16-seater AW149 Search and Rescue helicopter to the Nigeria Navy (NN) for better maritime domain security.

The handover, according to NIMASA’s Executive Director Operations, Rotimi Fasakin, followed a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari that the helicopter which was acquired by NIMASA in 2007 be handed over to the NN.

The Nation reports that the helicopter which was developed and produced principally by AgustaWesland, now Leonardo Helicopters, has twin engines and the capability to perform different roles such as Search and Rescue, VIP airlift, offshore transport, firefighting, maritime patrol, law enforcement, emergency medical service and disaster relief.

Speaking at the Naval Air Base Ojo, Lagos, Friday evening, Fasakin noted that the aircraft, which could perform some military operations, had always been domiciled with the navy.

He said although the navy always had operational control over it, with the presidential directive, all documents and other accessories of the helicopter would be handed over to the service.

Fasakin said: “It has been a long journey. The helicopter was purchased by NIMASA in April 2007. Two years after its purchase, NIMASA entered into an MoU with the navy. Since then, both agencies have had strong partnership in safeguarding the nation’s maritime domain.

“Ever since the aircraft was purchased, it has been under the operational management of the NN. The aircraft is also suited for a few military operations so, the president in his wisdom deemed it fit that NIMASA formally hands over to the navy and that is what we have done.

“Since its acquisition, the RESCUE 1 has flown a total of 243 hours and 45 minutes. It has been successfully deployed for various operations.

“The partnership with the NN has been very strong, effective, effectual and efficient. It has helped to give NIMASA the needed teeth to bite within the Nigeria maritime space. It has helped NIMASA carry out its constitutional mandates.”

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