By Steve Agbota, [email protected]
“NIMASA has put in tremendous efforts to mitigate the tide of maritime insecurity in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea through several maritime domain awareness interventions and collaborative efforts.
“The 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,” these are the words of the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Bashir Jamo, as he marks two years in office.
In combating the maritime crimes under his watch the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in December, 2020 applauded the agency’s efforts at fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region.
However, the agency highlighted other achievements under the current DG of NIMASA, as he continues to reposition the maritime industry for economic growth.
The agency continues to improve its port and flag state functions which are the core mandate of maritime safety. The agency’s performance in this regard in the last four years are highlighted below:
Total port state inspection in 2019 was 726 vessels of the 5,035 vessels calls which represents 10 per cent improvement from the preceding year and 14.42 per cent of the of total ship call. This was however short of 15 per cent requirement under IMO by 0.8 per cent of which we are working hard to surpass. Total port state inspections in 2020 was 510 of 4,728 vessel calls. (COVID-19 lockdown impacted negatively on the Port State Inspections) .
In 2019, the agency performed a total of 2,580 flag state inspections representing 2,123 renewal inspections, 276 condition survey and 181 Random Flag State Surveys. This showed a 49 per cent increase from the 1,737 Total Flag State Inspections carried out in 2018 comprising 1,241 Flag State Renewal Inspections, 381 Condition Surveys and 115 Random Flag State Surveys. However, the drop in 2020 is attributed to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Sadly, the agency recorded 22 marine incidents in 2019 as against 21 in 2018. Investigations were carried out while some are still on-going.
NIMASA has put in tremendous efforts to mitigate the tide of maritime insecurity in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea through several maritime domain awareness interventions and collaborative efforts.
NIMASA’s efforts in addressing maritime insecurity in Nigeria, Gulf of Guinea
Passage of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill has placed Nigeria in the global maritime map in tackling piracy and other maritime crimes. We have also established the integrated national maritime surveillance and security infrastructure. The 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. The is resuscitation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) equipment and the Regional Maritime Awareness Capacity (RMAC) Centre. 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. NIMASA has spearheaded the institutionalization of the collaboration between her and other frontline maritime agencies for improved maritime safety and security and efficient port operations.
Human capacity development
NIMASA has made steady statutory financial contribution to Maritime Academy, Oron. Under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Program, currently, the agency has trained over 2600 Nigerian Seafarers in various credible maritime institutions UK, Egypt, Philippine, Malaysia, etc. 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.
It has also sent some of its staff on long term training abroad to build internal capacities in various aspects of the maritime industry at the prestigious World Maritime University.
Indigenous shipping capacity development
There is procurement of the 5th largest modular floating dockyard in Africa to reduce the cost of ship repairs and maintenance. This milestone achievement comes under a unique Fund known as 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.
Under fiscal and monetary initiatives, we have continued our engagement with the MDAs to entrench an appropriate fiscal and monetary policy initiatives to pave way for the competitive participation of indigenous operators in shipping activities in Nigeria. These include but not limited to a push for the change in terms of trade from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) for the affreightment of crude oil (NNPC) • We advocate single digit interest rate for the maritime sector from CBN/NEXIM and BANK/AFRIEXIM
We continued our engagement with state governments to buy into our cargo support initiative aimed at creating cargo pool for affreightment by indigenous operators.
Ship tonnage growth
There is aggressive repositioning of the Nigerian Ship Registration Office (NSRO). Due to this, the Nigerian Ship Registration Office recorded 13.8 per cent tonnage growth from 2018 to 2019.
This 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.
Again, we have remodeled and commissioned of NIMASA Knowledge Centre E-Library.
The facility is open to staff, students/researchers and external stakeholders/maritime operators to increase the knowledge base of the Nigerian maritime sector
The Deep Blue Project was flagged off by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, May 21, 2021. The agency has taken delivery of key assets of the Deep Blue Project including; two Special Mission Vessels (SMVs), Seventeen Fast Interceptor Boats (FIBs), two Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) and 16 Armoured vehicles. Some of these assets have been deployed to the Nigerian Navy for its operational use. And there is provision of 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 also entered into international collaboration among major international stakeholders in the maritime/shipping sector.
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.
We have maritime security and intelligent unit meant for intelligence and information gathering and sharing that can help to stop piracy and there is collaboration with security agencies
At the strategic level, the agency ensures a close liaison with the offices of the NSA , CNS, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff and the IGP.
The agency has played a pivotal role in the institutionalisation of the collaboration between her and other government agencies for improved maritime security and safety.
Special COVID-19 response and CSR intervention
The executive management of NIMASA recognized from the outset 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. Corporate Social Responsibility support to Federal and State government by the following donations to Federal & State authorities: A cash donations of N30 million to the Federal Government Committee on COVID-19 intervention.
N20 million cash donation to the Lagos State COVID-19 Intervention Task Force B. Provided human capital/personnel support in the following areas: Medical personnel, drivers and logistic officers and deployment of the Agency’s Fire brigade trucks to fumigate Apapa and its environs.
Special intervention for flood victims and IDPs 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.
Among the 20 states covered across the 6 geo-political zones are: Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Delta, Lagos and Niger, Benue, Ogun, Ondo states.
The IMO in December, 2020 applauded our efforts in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Region
. The Specialized Organ of the United Nation had earlier support our action declaring seafarers as key workers to facilitate crew changes during the COVID-19 induced international lockdown. Recently, the IMO gave institutional backing to NIMASA’s Marine Litter Action Plan. These and many more are evident of our collaboration with the IMO.
Conduct of condition survey for Flag Registration
Comparing the number of vessels surveyed for flag registration relative to the previous year, it can be observed that the 2021 figure of 489 vessels is 43.6 per cent higher than the total number of condition surveys carried out in 2020 with 276 vessels. Port State Control (PCS) 229 foreign vessels boarded to ensure that such vessels maintained safety/pollution standard while in our ports and waters.
Port state control implementation
Comparing the number of vessels boarded relative to the previous year, it can be observed that the 2021 figure (673 vessels) is 24.2 per cent higher than the total number of inspections carried out in 2020 (510 vessels).
Examination and certification for officers
Total exam conducted for officers at various capacity and certification for year 2020 and 2021.
In 2021, total number of examination conducted for officers was 829 and total candidate passed and certificated was 264, forming a percentage of 32 per cent. Then, total candidate failed 565, forming a percentage of 68 per cent and total certificate revalidated in 2021 was 246 certificates.
Meanwhile, 2020 total number of examination conducted for officers was 610 and total candidate passed and certificated 251, forming a percentage of 41 per cent. Total candidate failed 359, forming a percentage of 59 per cent while total certificate revalidated in 2020 was 132 certificates.
However, in terms of examination ratings in 2020, a total number of examination conducted was 1,251 and the total candidate passed and certificated was 926, forming a percentage of 74 per cent. Meanwhile, total candidate failed was 325, forming a percentage of 26 per cent.
Online Seafarers Certificate of Competency (CoC) Verification Platform reactivated
The project has drastically reduced forgery of Nigerian certificates and enhance the employment of Nigerian Seafarers in the maritime sector. We now have 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. We also have Marine Accident Investigation Data/Information
Marine Pollution Prevention and Control
Nigeria has entered into MoU with 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. We also have the following in place; 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).
2022 in Focus
We will strengthen our maritime safety and security enforcement mechanisms and also organise a stakeholders’ engagement towards harnessing the potentials of a blue economy. We will continue to enhance revenue for increased contribution to the consolidated revenue fund and movement of the Agency’s Headquarters to its newly acquired building in Victoria Island. Operationalization of the floating dock, establishment of regional maritime safety and security training centre among others.