Tracking Nigeria’s maritime industry development: See what NIMASA is doing
A record of performance by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) underpins the status of the maritime industry, not as an end in itself, but showcasing results of efforts to sustaining workable structure made up of active components supporting world’s shipping trade.
Recent data and other vital information on operational performances establish the quantum work that NIMASA has been doing under the Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh and his management team that would clock two years in office by 10th March , 2022.
Maritime Domain Security
Considering the importance of security, NIMASA instituted several maritime domain awareness interventions and collaborative efforts to ensure security in Nigeria’s waters and in the Gulf of Guinea, which was attested to by a 2021 report by the International Maritime Bureau.
A very significant effort by the Agency in ensuring maritime security was the flag-off of the ‘Deep Blue Project’ by President Muhammadu Buhari, on 21st May, 2021. The project was designed to provide robust maritime security architecture, for which the Agency has received key assets including; Two Special Mission Vessels (SMVs); 17 Fast Interceptor Boats (FIBs); Two Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs); 16 Armoured Vehicles. And some of those assets have been deployed to the Nigerian Navy for operational use.
The Agency also provided the Regional Maritime Awareness Capacity (RMAC) Centre Kirikiri by the US Navy Upgraded to SEA VISION to allow for monitoring of vessels along the West and Central African region.
NIMASA activated an international collaboration among major international stakeholders in the maritime/shipping sector. This effort is to entrench coordinated response to piracy and other criminalities on the Nigerian waters and prompt reportage and escalation of marine incidences to where action is most expected and to provide navigational advisory to mariners. In addition to that, it resuscitated the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Equipment.
While it created the Maritime Security & Intelligence Unit for intelligence and information gathering and sharing to help check piracy, the Agency ensures a collaboration with other government agencies for improved maritime security and safety. And on the international front, NIMASA is currently engaging international stakeholders, including BIMCO, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and Oil Companies International Maritime Forum-OCIMF, under the auspices of NIMASA/Industry Maritime Security Work Group (NIWG) to entrench coordinated response to piracy attacks.
Strengthening the fight against piracy legally, it pushed hard to ensure the passage of the Passage of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill into an Act, making it possible for pirates arrested to be prosecuted.
Its implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code has steadily impacted on the level of security in the nation’s port areas and facilities; its records show that currently operational onshore facilities in the ISPS unit is 98, and divided into six maritime zones, while some zones are further subdivided for ease of administration owing to their locations and accessibility.
Marine Pollution Prevention and Control
The Agency disclosed that Nigeria signed a Memorandum of understanding(MoU) with the Maritime Transport Coordination Centre (MTCC) on Climate Change for Africa, to commence activities towards ensuring GHG emission reduction in the maritime sector with emphasis on achieving 0.5% Sulphur Oxide (SO2) in Bunker fuel oil.
With the MoU, NIMASA has taken on the following responsibility; Awareness creation; Establishment of bunker (fuel oil) supply register; Accreditation of laboratories for testing bunker oil; Capacity building on emission of reduction; and Establishment of Compliance monitoring and Enforcement Team (CMET).
It also announced that it had produced manual for the admissibility of claims under the IOPC fund. The manual is to contain the price index for determining the magnitude of claims for settlement in case of oil pollution.
Under its Flag State Implementation (FSO) – Vessels inspected/surveyed in accordance with the safety requirements of the MSA 2007, the Agency recorded a significant increase in number of vessels surveyed for registration. While it surveyed only 276 vessels for that purpose in 2020, a total of 489 vessels were surveyed in 2021, showing a 43.6 per cent increase.
For Port State Control (PSC), 229 foreign vessels boarded to ensure that such vessels maintained safety/pollution standard while in our ports and waters.
Records of its Port State Control Implementation show 24.2% higher in 2021, when 673 vessels were boarded, compared to 510 vessels inspected in 2020.
INDIGENOUS SHIPPING CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT
With projections to reduce cost of ship repairs and maintenance, NIMASA procurement the fifth largest Modular Floating Dockyard in Africa. It stated that the milestone achievement was made possible under the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), designed to provide financial assistance to Nigerian Operators in domestic coastal shipping to own vessels and enhance their competitiveness.
NIMASA disclosed it was still engaging with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to entrench appropriate fiscal and monetary policy initiatives to pave way for the competitive participation of indigenous operators in shipping activities in Nigeria.
Its engagements are seeking to achieve the following and more; A push for the change in terms of trade from FOB to CIF for the affreightment of crude oil (NNPC); Single digit interest rate for the maritime sector (CBN/NEXIM BANK/AFRIEXIM); Concessional foreign exchange rate for ship acquisition(CBN);Engagement with Office of the Vice President/Economic Management Team, while it continued engagement with state governments to buy into its cargo support initiative aimed at creating cargo pool for affreightment by indigenous operators.
Other initiatives NIMASA is undertaking for development of indigenous capacity in shipping include repositioning of the Nigerian Ship Registration Office (NSRO), for ship tonnage growth, even as the records show that the Nigerian Ship Registration Office recorded 13.8% tonnage growth from 2018 to 2019. The trajectory of growth was negatively impacted by the global covid-19 pandemic.
However, the Nigerian Ship Registry ranks second in tonnage measurement in Africa after Liberia, which operates an open and more flexible registry.
Human Capacity Development
The Agency remodeled and commissioned the NIMASA Knowledge Centre E-Library, which is open to staff, students/researchers and external stakeholders/maritime operators to increase the knowledge base of the Nigerian Maritime Sector. While making the statutory financial contribution to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, it is also undertaking the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), under which it has trained over 2600 Nigerian seafarers in various maritime institutions in the UK, Egypt, Philippines and Malaysia. Recently, the Agency secured the placement of over 400 cadets onboard ships for the mandatory SEA-TIME training to make them globally competitive and employable.
A significant aspect of its human capacity development initiative is the staff sponsorship on long -term training abroad to build internal capacities in various aspects of the maritime industry, at the prestigious World Maritime University.
Examination and Certification
In order to reduce certificate forgery and enhance employment of Nigerian seafarers in the maritime industry, NIMASA reactivated the Online Seafarers Certificate of Competency (CoC) Verification Platform.
For the examinations conducted and certificates awarded, the Agency records show that in 2021, a total of 829 officers sat for examinations; while 264 of them passed and received their certificates, 565 of them failed and 246 certificates where revalidated. In 2020 however, 610 officers took examinations and only 251 passed and received certification, while 359 of them failed. For 2020, only 132 certificates were revalidated.
For the Ratings who took the examinations in 2021, 926(74%) of the 1,251 candidates passed and received their certificates, while only 325(26%) of them failed. There were no difference in the percentage passed and failed in the 2020 examinations for the Ratings as 990 (74%) of the 1,327 candidates who sat for the examinations passed and were certified, while 337(26%) of them failed.
Of significant mention is the Agency’s enforcement of safety regulations on barges and tug boats (Operation Sting Ray), ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Certification for the operation of the maritime Safety Department Approval of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System for the Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standard Department by Bureau Veritas (BV) in April 2020, Revival of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) equipment – Necessary for sending alert in an emergency. The GMDSS is to ensure safety of life at sea.
Corporate Social Responsibility
SPECIAL INTERVENTION: COVID-19 RESPONSE AND CSR
The Executive Management of NIMASA recognized the significant impact of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Pandemic on the transport sector in particular and the global socio-economic activities in general, hence set up a multi-disciplinary committee within the Agency to provide an informed risk assessment with appropriate responses.
A major intervention of the Agency in ensuring the continued flow of trade was the declaration of Seafarers as KEY WORKERS to facilitate vital crew changes and excuse duty. Nigeria was among the first maritime nations to declare such and was commended by the IMO.
The Agency donated 30 Million Naira to the Federal Government Committee on COVID-19 Intervention; it donated 20 Million Naira cash to the Lagos State COVID-19 Intervention Task Force, Provided human capital/personnel support, making available medical personnel, drivers, logistics officers as well as deployment of the Agency’s fire brigade trucks to fumigate Apapa and environs.
SPECIAL INTERVENTION: CSR FOR FLOOD VICTIMS AND IDP CAMPS
The Agency presented relief items to victims of flood disaster across the nation. Also, internally displaced persons as a result of insurgency were not left out of Agency’s Corporate Social Responsibility. The Agency made such provisions to 20 states across the six geo-political zones of the country.