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Maritime: Nigeria ratifies 40 conventions, domesticates 19 international laws

R-L: Executive Director, Operations, Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, FNSE,
Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Head, Legal Services, NIMASA,
Mrs. Aisha Jidda, and Executive Director, Maritime Labour & Cabotage
Services, NIMASA, Mr. Gambo Ahmed during 8th Strategic
Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges organised by NIMASA in conjunction with NIALS
in Lagos.

The Director General of the
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside,
has disclosed that Nigeria has been able to ratify 40 conventions passed by the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Labour Organisation
(ILO) covering Maritime Safety, Labour and Marine Environment.

The DG who spoke in Lagos
during the 8th Strategic Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges organized by NIMASA
in conjunction with Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), also
explained that the non-implementation and enforcement of the conventions has
been affecting investments in the country.

He said that so far 19 of the
conventions have been domesticated by way of regulation, adoption or
incorporation under the Merchant Shipping Act of 2007.
has been a herculean task trying to sell Nigeria to the international community
for investments, because in some cases the investors had raised the issue of
uncertainty in dispensation of litigation and implementations of
laws. It is on the premise that the seminar titled Strengthening Nigeria’s
Admiralty Regime through Effective Implementation of International Maritime and
Labour Instruments was imperative
, the
DG said.
Speaking further, he stated that the Agency is working closely with the
Federal Ministry of Transportation under the auspices of an Inter-Ministerial
Committee to ratify an additional six IMO conventions before the end of 2019 to
ensure that Nigeria as an IMO member state fulfills its treaty obligation. 
These conventions are; The Hong Kong
International Convention for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships
2009; Protocol Relating to Intervention on the high seas in cases of oil
pollution casualties (Intervention Protocol) 1973; 1996 Protocol on limitation
of liability for maritime claims (LLMC).
Others are; 2002 Protocol relating to the carriage of passengers and
their luggage by sea (PAL) 1976; International Convention on Standards of
Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F)
1995; and the Protocol of 2005 to the Convention for the Suppression of
Unlawful Act against the Safety of Maritime Navigation.
He also gave the assurance that NIMASA as a responsible Agency is
working with relevant stakeholders under the auspices of the IMO Mandatory
States Audit Scheme (IMSAS) Corrective Action Plan Committee to ensure that all
queries raised in the 2016 IMO Audit report on Nigeria’s maritime sector are
addressed before the first quarter of 2019 in order to boost Nigeria’s reelection
bid into Category ‘C’ of the IMO General Council.
In the area of maritime security, which is critical to actualizing safe
and secure shipping, the NIMASA DG informed participants that the draft
suppression of piracy and other maritime offenses bill facilitated by the
Agency, aimed at criminalizing piracy and other maritime offenses has been
forwarded to the National Assembly, adding that the bill has passed first
reading in both chambers of the National Assembly. He also expressed optimism
that it will be passed to Law before the end of the 8th Assembly. 
Dr. Dakuku who reiterated the fact that the maritime sector in
Nigeria has a lot of opportunities to become an economic driver and this can be
fully actualized when the various arms of government work together
collaboratively, urged the Nigerian judicial system to ensure efficiency and
timeliness in the dispensation of justice in maritime related cases, as it will
boost stakeholders and investors’ confidence in the system.  
Timeliness in justice dispensation is very key
to realizing the potentials in the maritime sector so that investors’ can trust
our judicial process. The more time taken on a case, the more investment
opportunities are lost; I therefore wish to use this opportunity to appeal
to our judges to facilitate timely resolution of dispute for maritime cases as
we all have one role or the other to play in catalysing the Nigerian economy,”
DG said. 
NIMASA in line with its mandate of promoting the development of shipping
and building capacity in the maritime sector, instituted the Strategic
Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges with the initial target being judges of the
Federal High Court who by provision of Section 251 (I) (g) of the constitution
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), are vested with exclusive
jurisdiction over Admiralty matters. This scope subsequently expanded to
include Justices of the Court of Appeal and the State High Court Judges of the
littoral states, mindful also of their strategic roles in the dispensation of
Present at the event include; Justice of the Court of
Appeal, M.L. Garba Chief Judge of Ogun State, Mosunmola Arinola, Chief
Judge of Akwa Ibom, Justice Godwin Abraham, 
amongst other notable legal

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