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Tuesday, June 18, 2024


    Nigeria Navy taps into Artificial Intelligence to boost its maritime operations

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    Somali Magazine – In a bid to keep up with the ever-changing technological threats from the maritime sector. The Nigerian Navy has embraced Artificial Intelligence (AI) to strengthen its operational capacity.

    This was revealed by Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla -Chief of the Naval Staff at the National Defence College, during a report presentation dubbed, “Artificial Intelligence and Ship Maintenance: Strategic Options for the Nigerian Navy by 2035.”

    He also pointed out that the West Africa state Navy is embracing AI since it and other emerging technologies are increasingly used in ship construction.

    “The Nigerian Navy must continue to adopt and integrate these technologies in order to maintain a competitive edge during operations,” Ogalla said in its report.

    AI can inform a Navy’s decision-making processes, such as predicting the most fuel-efficient way to operate a vessel. It can be included in a ship’s navigation system, radar operations or threat-detection systems to allow operators to process information faster.

    The technology has grown in popularity as maritime battlefields become increasingly complex.

    “Navies and warships in general have had a high degree of automation for a long time, with the most commonplace use of AI being in the Combat Management System (CMS),” Matthew Caris, senior director at Avascent, a global strategy consulting firm, told Armada International.

    In automatic mode, CMS can detect a target and identify, classify, and prioritize targets before deploying weapons, although people are involved in decisions about when and how to use weapons.

    Harnessing AI and other technologies will help the Nigerian Navy more effectively respond to a range of maritime threats such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; drug smuggling; and piracy.

    Nigeria now loses about $70 million annually to illegal fishing perpetrated by a host of foreign fleets, mostly Chinese.

    It is a scourge that plagues West Africa, the world’s epicenter for IUU fishing. It costs the region an estimated $10 billion a year, according to a September report by the Stimson Center, a think tank.

    Since the early 2000s, the region also has emerged as a major transit point for cocaine and other drugs from South America en route to Europe. Drugs commonly are trafficked into Nigeria through Lagos and other port cities. In July, the Nigerian Navy helped uncover 24 kilograms of cocaine on a bulk carrier in Lagos. The drugs were hidden in a sugar shipment from Brazil.

    After years of declining pirate attacks — there were 81 in 2020, 34 in 2021 and just three last year — the threat is resurging in West Africa, where five incidents were reported in the first quarter of this year and nine in the second quarter, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

    The IMB says the number of actual and attempted piracy attacks on ships in Nigeria fell from 48 in 2018 to six in 2021. However, Nigeria’s maritime efforts to combat piracy have increased pirate attacks on artisanal fishing villages.





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