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NIMASA to transform Marine and Blue Economy…plans automation of Nigeria’s Ship Registry

…Promises robust attention to gender equality

Dr. Adedayo Mobereola, the new Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has promised to work with his management team to improve the Marine and Blue Economy, beginning with immediate focus on ensuring full automation of the Ship Registry.

Dr. Mobereola made the promise on Thursday at Eko Hotel in Lagos, at his maiden interactive meeting with key stakeholders of the Marine and Blue Economy sector.

In the same vein, the DG promised priority attention to women inclusion in all issues of operation and participation in the industry, considering even the call by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), to ensure adequate inclusion of women in the affairs of the industry.

“Some of the things we have in mind have been said here, like the automation of the Ship Registry. It is one thing that we have thought about, and I can assure you it will happen very quickly. The gender inclusion is one thing that we are going to seriously look into and where we have had shortfalls, we would make the necessary amendments,” he said.

Dr. Mobereola had also told the gathering in his response to the submissions made by the various stakeholders that he was in the forum to listen to each of their contributions, particularly where there are challenges as well as solutions proffered. He added that the essence was for him and the Agency as an institution to address the issues in effective regulative service as instituted by the Act establishing it.

His words: “My purpose here in this forum is to come and listen and I can tell you as you may have witnessed, we have rapporteurs here and they have taken note of all the comments. You can be assured that all that has been said here are going to be into consideration when we are developing our plan for the next four years. So, there would be no exclusivity. We are all going to do it together. The purpose of NIMASA is to serve the industry and we cannot decide what is good for the industry unless the industry is working with us, in order for us to have joint partnership for them to be able to excel.

“So, shipowners, everything as being said, every aspect of the professionals, practitioners here that have said everything about challenges and also proffered solutions, you can be rest assured that all these points that have been raised would be looked into, considered and put into our strategy so that there can be a sustainable plan for the maritime sector and we want that to be one that would be acceptable by the regulator as well as the practitioners.”

The NIMASA DG expressed appreciation for the industry support, particularly that a number of former directors general were in attendance and shared useful experiences. Among them were Barrister Temisan Omatseye, Chief Ferdinand Agu, Dr. Ade Dosunmu,  and Alhaji Tijjani Ramalan.

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of the occasion and a former Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, assured the gathering of Dr. Mobereola’s capacity for the task of directing affairs of the Agency, owing to his educational background and evidential performances from his previous leadership positions.

“We are convened to celebrate the leadership and vision of our new Director General who, from what we already know, will be dedicating himself to bringing about the growth and development of the Marine and Blue economy and the Nigerian maritime industry as a whole.

“Under the leadership of Dr Adedayo Mobereola, it is our expectation that NIMASA will be making significant strides in promoting ship safety, maritime security, and environmental sustainability in our waters.

“His dedication to capacity building, infrastructure development, and environmental protection will most definitely position Nigeria as a key player in the global maritime community.

“Most of us here present are fully aware of Dr Mobereola’s professional antecedents. For the benefits of those who do not know the DG that well, I would like to take the opportunity to confirm that the DG is a thoroughbred marine professional of international standing,” Captain Iheanacho said.

He, however, urged that the DG in his leadership capacity ensures that NIMASA would continue to drive innovation, pursue collaboration with stakeholders, and engender positive progress in our industry as a whole.

He added that “In discharging his responsibilities, we would expect the DG to work closely with the IMO pursuing the core object of the IMO, namely within the provisions of Solas, Marpol, STCW, ILO, any other relevant international conventions.

“We expect the DG to be fully cognisant of the impact of technological developments in the marine and blue economy on the content and form of policies to be developed. We look forward to working together with the DG to address the challenges ahead and to seize the opportunities that lies before us.”

In his paper titled Marine and Blue Economy – Navigating To The Promised Land’, maritime lawyer, Dr. Emeka Akabogu, urged NIMASA to ensure it works within the five core areas of its mandate, which include Maritime Safety and Security, Maritime labour, Marine pollution, Shipping development, and Maritime policy  and capacity development, to meet the expectations of the various stakeholders – Government, the Agency, the practitioners as well as the teaming population of the general public who want to get jobs in the industry.

Speaking on shipping development, Dr. Akabogu charged NIMASA to ensure full deployment of technology to ensure factual data that can avail business opportunities to operators.

He said: “The registration of vessels’ data suggests a very robust capacity of our Marine and Blue Economy industry, yet, the reality suggests the opposite. It is useful for NIMASA to take a deeper look at the process of collation and crunching of the data to ensure it is always reliable.

“NIMASA seems to have failed to capture data about the ship charter market other than bareboat charter. This is a significant market estimated to be worth N10 billion. This is also contrary to the provision of Section 19 (9) of the Merchant Shipping Act which provides that “A charter of less than 12 months’ duration other than a bareboat charter shall be licensed and such a chartered vessel shall not fly the Nigerian flag and not be regarded as a Nigerian registered vessel.”

He also called attention to an existing ‘Maritime Fund’ created under the NIMASA Act, which he noted as not regularly referenced, but which supports a broad range of industry initiatives beyond just ship acquisition.

Importantly, Akabogu added that as provided for in the Act establishing the Maritime Fund, “The Agency may apply monies in the Fund to promote the development of indigenous shipping and infrastructure in Nigeria. The beneficiaries of the Fund under subsection (4) of this section shall be Nigerian citizens and companies.”

The well-attended interactive session had key industry stakeholders representing various groups. Among them were President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping and representing the shipowning groups, Alhaji Aminu Umar; President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Prince Adewale Adeyanju; Princess Vicky Haastrup, the Chairperson of the Seaport Terminal operators of Nigeria (STOAN); Captain Tajudeen Alao, President of the Nigerian association of Master Mariners; President of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors, Engr. Israel Obadan; associations of the various women’s groups including Barrister Oritsematosan Edodo- Emore, President of the Women in Maritime of West and Central Africa(WIMOWCA)..



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