26 December 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – OFFICIALS of the United Sates Coast Guard are yet again in Nigeria to monitor the implementation of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security, ISPS, code.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on maritime matters, Mr. Leke Oyewole disclosed that the visit of the United States coast guard officials is a follow up to two previous visits.
The officials according to Oyewole, are to visit some facilities in the Eastern ports particularly in Calabar, the Cross River state.
It was also gathered that the coast guard team will review the checklist and processes of implementing the guidelines of the code to correct any inherent abnormally that may arise.
Besides monitoring the implementation of the ISPS code, the team will also inspect how drills are conducted by the Port Facility Officers of some of the terminals.
A source close to one of the Recognised Security Organisation disclosed that some of these facilities are yet to meet the proposed standard of security levels and arrangements in their terminals.
It will be recalled that the United States government recently issued a 90-day ultimatum to the Nigerian government requiring its Designated Authority, DA, for International Ship and Port Facility Security, ISPS, Code implementation.
The issuance of the ultimatum resulted in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, being appointed as the Designated Authority to ensure nationwide compliance to the code.
The ISPS Code was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, and became mandatory for implementation by all contracting governments in July 2004.
The objective was to establish an international framework that would help ensure the global maritime domain was better secured from the threat of terrorism.
The code was to apply to vessels above 500 gross tonnage engaged in international voyage as well as the port facilities, PFs, servicing them.
Nigeria, being a signatory to the IMO charter, was among the member states that ratified the code and thus set out to implement the code in order to ensure the nation’s compliance by the due date.
Consequently, the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004 inaugurated the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security, PICOMMS, to act as the country’s DA and to ensure the nation’s compliance as required by the ISPS Code.
Nigeria was able to meet the deadline and was confirmed by the IMO as compliant that same year.
PICOMSS continued to function as the DA until the committee was formally wound down late 2012.
On May 21, 2013, the DA mandate was formally transferred to NIMASA following an official letter issued by the Ministry of Transport.
Upon receipt of the letter, the agency immediately set out to institute a fresh implementation programme as needed.