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NIMASA tops chart in Port, Flag State Control

The Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has topped the chart on Port and Flag
State Control in the West and Central Africa Sub-Region, in the continued
pursuit of its mission of staying ahead of the game in maritime administration.

NIMASA outranked other maritime regulators
in the region in the inspection of vessels calling at Nigeria’s ports,
according to the latest report by the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
on Port State Control for West and Central Africa Region, otherwise known as
Abuja MoU. Abuja MoU is the apex regional treaty on port control.

on the feat, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said it was
part of the fruits of recent reforms initiated by the Agency and deliberate
investment in enforcement equipment. 

“In NIMASA, we are conscious of global best practices and determined to
rid our waterways of all substandard vessels, with the ultimate aim of ensuring
a safe and robust maritime domain. This will afford us the capacity to be a
competitive player in the global maritime space, giving us an edge in the
comity of maritime investment destinations, ” 

Abuja MoU, led by the Secretary-General, Mrs. Mfon Usoro, stated in the report
that Nigeria dominated in detailed inspection of vessels, with 13 exercises out
of the total 14 carried out in the continent in 2018. The report commended the
country’s enforcement drive.

showed a significant rise in recorded deficiencies across the continent, as 727
vessel deficiencies were recorded in 2018 as against 587 in 2017. This was
attributed to increased enforcement exercises across the various regions, with
Nigeria in the lead with 339 deficiencies. 

said an analysis of the MoU’s performance between 2010 and 2018 indicated an
unbroken incremental improvement by member-nations’ administrations of the MoU
in every aspect of Port State Control (PSC). 

She said this evidenced commitment
by member-states to rid their waters of substandard ships, improve the standard
of welfare of shipboard officers and crew, and stem the pollution of the
region’s waters.

pointed out that the excellent record posted by Nigeria was the result of
recent transformational initiatives introduced by NIMASA, Abuja MoU’s
administrator in Nigeria, and the availability of vessels for officers to carry
out their enforcement duties.

assuring the shipping community of the maximum support of NIMASA, Dakuku
stated, “We
will remain unwavering in our commitment to safety and innovation in line with
global best standards, despite the challenges.

“The Agency has no
intention of taking anyone out of business; rather we are here to assist ship
operators by creating a conducive environment.”

emphasised that the Agency will not fail to clamp down on erring operators “to
safeguard the country’s maritime environment for the good of all.”

the international requirement for countries to inspect at least 15% of
foreign vessels entering their domain, NIMASA inspected and surveyed over 600
vessels calling at Nigerian ports, an unprecedented feat showing the country is
alive to its port state and flag state responsibilities.

The increased inspection and survey has
ensured that substandard vessels no longer call at Nigerian ports. It has
improved safety on Nigerian waters and led to a reduction of vessels with
deficiency from 18.99 % in 2015 to barely 14 % in 2018.

has since the last three years engaged in deliberate efforts to protect the
country’s maritime assets and environment by building up response capability
under the deep blue sea project.

The Agency has acquired special mission
aircraft, special mission telecommunications gadgets, and 17 interceptor
special mission vessels.

It has also, in conjunction with the
country’s security services, set up a Command and Control Centre, with a
complement of armoured vehicles to patrol littoral states, and a standing
military force to deal with criminal activities at sea.

Abuja MoU on State Control was signed at a Ministerial Conference held in Abuja
by 16 West and Central African States on October 22, 1999.

The meeting was organised by the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and hosted by the government of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.

MoU is the legal document under which countries of the region agreed to develop
and implement a common mechanism for the respective port state control

The main work of the Abuja MoU is the
harmonisation of the port state control procedure and practices of all the
countries in the region.

This is to eliminate the operation of
substandard shipping within the region in order to ensure maritime safety,
security, protection of the marine environment from pollution, and improvement
in the working and living conditions of ship crew, as well as facilitate
regional cooperation and exchange of information among member-states. 

to the MoU are Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon,
Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria,
Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic
of Congo, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, and Togo.   

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